Red chillies brings smiles to farmers

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Sambalpur, May 14 (UNI) The very thought of hot red chillies will stimulate one's lachrymal glands but for the farmers at Kuchinda in the district these are the reason to smile.

With the joint efforts of Sambalpur district administration, Regulated Market Committee (RMC), APICOL and Sea Shore Foundation (SSF), Bhubaneswar, the chilly farmers are earning huge revenues.

This year the chilly farmers got Rs 70 per kg of chilly almost double the amount. Earlier, they hardly got their dues.

''Distress sale was a perennial problem for us. But this year the story was different. With help of Apicol and SSF, we sold chillies at Rs 70 per kg in Kuchinda market yard opened by the RMC,'' a farmer said.

The local administration came to know about the distress sale on January 15 this year after the farmers of Dangajore village submitted a memorandum demanding fair price for chillies.

''We contacted various organisations. APICOL came forward to help us. SSF agreed to purchase the entire product at the market price'' said Kuchinda Sub-Collector Bibhuti Bhusan Behera told UNI.

''Steps taken by Collector Pradipta Patnaik, APICOL Chairman Balakrishna Rath and SSF Managing Director P K Das to protect the interest of farmers are undoubtedly praise worthy,'' he added.

Despite arrangements made by local administration, the middlemen continued to thrive and draw the benefits with farmers being at the receiving end.

''We were unaware of the sale of through market yards. I sold my chillies to a local trader at Rs 45 per kg,'' said Upendra Kumar Patel, a farmer of Kurmimunda village.

Rajkishore Patel of Chandnimal and Nrupalal Pruseth of Panuposh villages have expressed their happiness over the new arrangement.

''This is an auspicious year for us. We never got so much price for chillies previously,'' they said.

Horticulturist G C Swain said Kuchinda's soil was found to be most suitable for the production of chilly and has a name in the national and international market.

He hoped that the farmers would go for more production in the coming years as they have started getting the right price for their product.

The sub-collector further said the government was planning to set up a a chilly processing plant at Kuchinda with the help of Apicol.

UNI XC BD PP/src1617

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