Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A farmers\' collective harvests success

It is an experiment that has brought farmers, in large numbers, back to their fields and drawn the attention of bankers and fledgling farmers enterprises. In Kerala, it has no parallel. In terms of the remuneration farmers are getting and the freedom they enjoy, it is an entirely new world of experience.

The Mazhuvannoor farmers market (Swasraya Karshaka Vipani) in Ernakulam district, under the aegis of the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Kerala (VFPCK), is rewriting history for an audience so accustomed to reading newspaper reports on farmers woes.

Here, in nearly 1,000 sq. ft. of floor area under a sweltering tin roof one hears farmers discuss excitedly the new season.

They are trying to spot the rains, now playing truant. Everywhere, there is an air of expectancy that greets you as you wind your way around heaps of pineapple, elephant foot yam; jackfruit, tapioca, cucumber, jackfruit seeds, banana flower buds, sacks of dried tapioca in various shades; yam stems, half-a-dozen variety of bananas.

�I gave up my job in a private company to return to farming, says V. S. Shashi. It was because of this market that farming has once again become remunerative, he said, bearing witness to a silent revolution brought about by this simple union of farmers.

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