After discussing the prevailing situation in the state’s horticulture sector with Deputy Director of Horticulture, Anantapur District Collector Gandham Chandrudu realized the adverse impact of COVID-19 lockdown on horticulture farmers and immediately took action. He directed the officials to ease the restrictions on marketing and transportation.
Praising the efforts of the Collector Shri Gandham Chandrudu, Dhaku Naik, a water melon farmer of Ramapuram village, said that at a time when people are talking of extending the lockdown, Shri Chandrudu’s efforts helped him to market his 1 tonne melons.
In the neighbouring Karnataka, owing to COVID-19 lockdown, horticulture produce worth several thousands of crores were allowed to decay, whereas Chickballapur, the bordering town of the district, has witnessed dumping of some Rs 600 crore worth of sweet grapes by farmers.
However, the collector’s initiatives on war-footing in the last few days resulted in inland exports of fruits and vegetables worth roughly Rs 800 crore to Delhi, MP, UP, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Chennai. The Horticulture officials have so far helped farmers to market 110 tonnes of mangoes, 17,302 tonnes of bananas, 2008 tonnes of water melons, 110 tonnes of mangoes, 160 tonnes pomegranates, 100 tonnes of papaya, 110 tonnes of mangoes, 200 tonnes of sweet oranges, 1000 tonnes tomatoes, 30 tonnes of flowers, 200 tonnes grapes & 1020 tonnes of vegetables. The officials have organized around 1,500 goods transport vehicles during the past 5 days.
It is worth mentioning that although the Indian government has granted relaxation in the nationwide lockdown for activities related to agriculture to ensure unhindered harvesting of crops, the three-week lockdown is having a detrimental impact on the supply chain of agricultural commodities.