Hyderabad: What does a group of techies have to do with a field full of ripe tomatoes? A lot will be the reply from Nagamani, an independent farmer in Thammadapalli of Nalgonda district.
Nagamani was on the verge of plowing her entire field full of ripe tomatoes after the price of tomatoes plummeted to a mere Rs 2 per kg. With 50-odd workers under her, she didn’t have money to pay them even to pluck the fruits or transport the produce. Out of despair, she decided to let it all go to waste.
That is when help came from the Forum of ITprofessionlas (ForIT), who recently started working with mosambi (sweet lime) farmers and learned about Nagamani’s predicament.
“Nagamani told us about other tomato farmers who thought it was not worth plucking the tomatoes since they wouldn’t get even the minimum support price for their produce. Their biggest issue was the high transportation cost,” explains Kiran Chandra, president, ForIT, which usually works towards the welfare of IT employees. The members then collected Rs 10,000 and arranged vehicles to transport the produce.
“They sent us three tonnes of tomatoes, which we sold at Rs 15 a kg in apartment complexes in areas like Uppal, Vanasthalipuram, Kukatpally, Miyapur, Hitec City, Attapur and Patancheru,” says Kiran, adding that the first load of 2.1 tonnes came in on Saturday and was sold off in just 30 minutes.
“We spread the message about the campaign to sell the tomatoes through all the WhatsApp groups we knew. The response from people was overwhelming. In fact, many wanted to buy more than they needed for their homes just to help the farmers. We are planning to take up more such initiatives in the future,” says Kiran, who expressed doubts about the new farm laws that have brought thousands of farmers onto the streets in protest.