Rajahmundry: Rice, millets and vegetables including the leafy variety raised through natural farming in agency and plain areas are becoming the most sought after items at Rythu Bazaars in East Godavari.
A higher number of people who have become health conscious prefer to purchase agricultural products raised without the use of any fertilisers and pesticides though they are priced a few rupees higher than those raised through conventional method. Apart from regular farmers, professionals like B. Tech and MBA graduates are getting involved in raising such crops through natural farming given the increasing demand for them.
Some of the professionals take up small pieces of farm land on lease from their owners for a brief period of time to take up cultivation of leafy vegetables like thotakura, palakuru and bachalakura and curry leaf through natural farming without the use of fertilisers and pesticides. The naturally grown leafy vegetables are being sold at select Rythu Bazaars. Though they are priced around Rs two higher than those raised conventionally, health conscious people purchase them.
Marketing authorities try to provide special cells at Rythu Bazaars for the benefit of consumers to reach them directly seeking naturally grown leafy vegetables.
Authorities say that the young professionals are able to identify their patrons from the consumers opting for such naturally grown leafy vegetables and intend to enhance quantum of production even by taking some more farm land on lease to supply to the consumers.
Horticulture authorities, too, join them to enhance production of such naturally grown crops by advising farmers and the young producers to form 'Farmer Producer Organisations' so that they can avail different subsidies being provided by the state government to take up cultivation and look for open market for their produce and sell them based on demand at premium price.
Some farmers raise organic vegetables like green bananas, ladies fingers, bitter gourd and brinjal in farms located in and around Rajahmundry that they bring to the Rythu Bazaars and sell to consumers relatively at a high price than conventional varieties.
Some tribals also raise rice and millets naturally using only manure like cow dung. They sell a bag of 25 kg rice at Rs 2,200 against the market price of Rs 2,400 to Rs 2,600. Similarly, a kg of millets raised in natural farming is sold at Rs 60 to Rs 70 against the market price of Rs 110 to Rs 130.
Marketing assistant director K. Kishore said, "As there is huge demand for rice, millets, vegetables and leafy vegetables raised through natural farming, we are making efforts to make them available at the Rythu Bazaars and also making efforts to supply them to super markets so that people can buy and consume them and safeguard their health."...