A majority of farmers in our country today are reeling under huge financial losses and crop damage as markets and stores remain closed. Like Sridhar, a small-time farmer of Karnataka, who has faced a loss of about Rs 3 lakh due to countrywide clampdown that was implemented from 24 March to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
For the first 15 days of the lockdown, Sridhar was forced to store around 70 kilos of capsicum in his house in Hosur as markets and transportation facilities shut completely. He tried arranging for transportation for Bengaluru markets but no help came forthwith. Ultimately, he decided to distribute it for free before it went bad.
Help came to Sridhar in the form of TARU – a non profit initiative started by a group of friends.
It began when Bengaluru-resident Sunil Gahtori noticed how farmers from his neighbouring farmlands were suffering due to the lockdown. He came up with a systematic approach to bridge the gap between the demand and supply chain.
“I collaborated with my friends, Uma and Sony and formed a non-profit called TARU (Team for Agri Resource Utilisation). Through the organisation we procure a combination of fresh vegetables from farmers and deliver them in a 6-kilo box to apartment dwellers,” Sunil tells The Better India (TBI).
This win-win initiative has so far provided fresh vegetables to over 700 families across the city and is gradually helping farmers recover their losses.
The Better India’s “BETTER TOGETHER” initiative has brought together civil service officers from across the country as they help migrant labourers, daily wage earners, frontline workers, and all those who need our help most in these troubled times. You can join us and support them in this fight against COVID-19.
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What’s In The Box?
The box contains potatoes, onion, tomatoes, lemon, chillies, coriander, ginger and garlic.
Customers can choose 5-6 vegetables from okra, brinjal, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, ridge gourd, radish, carrot, cucumber, beetroot, and capsicum and the vegetables will be given as per the availability.
Each box costs Rs 250 and if the number of boxes is less than 20 per apartment, then a delivery charge of Rs 30 is levied.
Here’s How It Works
The group gets orders through their Facebook page and Whatsapp group. All a person has to do is fill a form along with details like number of vegetable boxes and address and submit it. You can share the form with other families in your apartment as the order will be accepted only if there are 10 boxes to deliver per apartment.
Meanwhile, Uma coordinates with a group of farmers in Hosur in Krishnagiri district to prepare the boxes. Once boxes are ready, Sunil contacts the customer to confirm the order and delivery date. Sunil has hired Manju, a flower vendor to deliver the boxes every alternate day.
Manju drops the boxes at the gate and a coordinator from the building collects it. The boxes are then distributed among the residents. The team has undertaken all kinds of safety precautions to maintain hygiene throughout the process.
“We have provided masks, gloves, sanitisers and boxes to the farmers. The vehicle is also sanitised properly post delivery. We have three permit passes to ensure a smooth delivery from Hosur to several areas in the city and payments are accepted only by UPI,” says Sunil.
“I have supplied close to 100 kilos of capsicum in just a matter of a few days without stepping outside Hosur. This is not only reviving my income but also saving transportation costs. This is a very hassle-free and safe process,” a relieved Sridhar tells TBI.
Meanwhile, 40 kilometers away in Bengaluru, Dayanand, a resident of SLV Splendour apartment is now getting produce fresh from the market without having to step out of his home.
“I was forced to purchase vegetables at expensive rates before Sunil and his team came in. Around 52 families from our complex ordered the boxes and all of them said they received fresh vegetables at cost-effective rates,” Dayanand tells TBI. Dayanand further tells me how he and other residents are now realising the difficulties farmers face daily, “Farmers are our lifelines and we are very grateful for all the pain they go through to give us food.”
With the lockdown extended till 4 May, both farmers and customers across the country will have to face this crisis for a longer period. We can only hope such initiatives make all our lives easier.
Fill this form to order vegetables if your apartment is in the list
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Get In touch with TARU here
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)