Thursday, December, 02,2021

Farmers in Saurashtra unite in silent revolution

Rajkot: Call it a silent revolution or unity, farmers--especially the younger generation--in Saurashtra have started uniting to ensure fair prices. In addition to setting base prices, they are also considering other avenues, such as selling directly to consumers, and naming and shaming traders who try to undercut their income on social media.

Young farmers from around six villages of Liliya taluka in Amreli including Saldi, Putlina (Darma), Godhavadar, Amba, Jatruda and Bhedan and around 30-40 villages in Sutrapada taluka of Gir Somnath district have already begun to widely circulate messages about their “fixed prices” for groundnut and cotton on social media.As Navin Madaliya of Saldi village told First India, “We have fixed the minimum price of cotton at Rs1,350 and groundnut Rs1,200 per 20kg. Any trader who attempts to bargain us down will be named and shamed on social media. Alternatively, we are also looking at extracting groundnut oil and ginning cotton ourselves and selling directly to consumers. And we are not alone. The ‘Khedut Bole Chhe” Whatsapp group has about 150 farmer members and our Facebook page has thousands more. Everyone is planning to follow our lead in their respective regions.” Last year, Madaliya was among a dozen farmers who manufactured groundnut oil from their produce and sold around 800 15kg tins directly to customers.

This year, the area has seven new mini oil mills and 25 farmers plan to mill oil themselves. “It is more beneficial than selling our groundnut harvest for peanuts,” Madaliya said. Another farmer, 29-year-old Sanjay Lodhva from Sutrapada taluka in Gir Somnath said, “We have decided to sell groundnut at Rs1,100 per 20kg under our ‘Amaro Maal, Amaro Bhav’ (our produce, our price), after consulting our elders, farmer leaders and buyers. We are not sure if we will succeed, but we are definitely positive about it.”

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