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New Facility Offered to The Farmers by Lawrencedale.

At Masakkal village near Kotagiri a vegetable farmer, cultivates broccoli, ginger, potato and red cabbage on two acres. He used to travel to the markets in Ooty or Mettupalayam at least twice a week to sell his produce with the transport bill eating into his meagre profits.

A vegetable collection centre was opened at Masakkal, 15 km from Kotagiri, on Wednesday under the Perimetro Vegetable Cluster Development Project. so that vegetable farmers like him need not travel to Ooty or Mettupalayam anymore.

On public-private partnership mode, the project has been implemented by the Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crop, Tamil Nadu. Lawrencedale Estates and Farms has set up the collection centre with subsidy from the department.

P. Vijayaraghavan, chief executive officer, says that the company is involved in the project for the last six months. It has set up the procurement centre at a total cost of Rs. 70 lakh and can procure 20 tonnes of vegetables a day.

He says “We pay the market price to the farmers and the amount is either credited to their bank account or given as cheque. The company will clean, grade and sell the vegetables to retailers and customers. It has deployed mobile vans (‘Namma Thottam’) to sell the vegetables in Coimbatore on a daily basis.”

A horticulture official says that in Coimbatore, the department has given the farmers three trucks to transport the vegetables to the markets. It is aimed at helping the growers get a good price for the produce.

Another farmer who grows leeks and beans at Masakkal, says the farmers would lose a day when they travel to the market. Now, they can sell the vegetables at the collection centre and return to work at the farm. He also says that, exotic vegetable cultivation is high in Masakkal area and the collection centre would give help the farmers get the market price.

In Coimbatore district, the farmers have formed a company and plan to export vegetables under this project. The project was launched in Chennai and Coimbatore in 2013 and has now been extended to other districts too. Farmers also get assistance under the scheme for organic farming and protected cultivation, says the Horticulture Department officials.