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Multi-state initiative in South India to help paddy farmers

The multi-state paddy farmers association proposes to add 500 core paddy farmers and thousands of associate members.

, ET Bureau|
Apr 29, 2019, 02.22 PM IST
Kochi: A group of paddy farmers in Kerala has taken the initiative to form an association linking with compatriots in other southern states to provide marketing support and ensure fair price for their produce by eliminating middlemen.

The multi-state paddy farmers association proposes to add 500 core paddy farmers and thousands of associate members. “Paddy farmers in Kerala are not getting a fair price for their produce as the cost of labour and other expenses have gone up. We can buy their produce directly from them and help in marketing it,’’ said NV Giridharan, president of the association, who is based in Palakkad, which along with Alappuzha accounts for bulk of the paddy production in the state.

Giridharan said farmers in other southern states will also benefit as they will be able to sell their rice in Kerala without middlemen. “At present rice often sold as Palakkadan matta, a premium reddish rice variety from Kerala, in other states may be some other rice with added red colour. We can sell the original variety,’’ he said.

The association will sell different types of rice from all the five states, according to Giridharan. “It will focus on online sales and hopes to start supply starting from Palakkad once it is registered. Right now, majority of members are from Kerala and a few from other states,’’ he said.

Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the major paddy producers in southern India.

The association will have at least 100 farmer members from each of the five states. Each member will have one share by paying Rs 1,000 and will also get one voting right. Besides, there will be others who can take associate membership by paying Rs 100. Associate members will not have voting rights but will get dividend. In all, the association hopes to have around 5,000 members.

The current support price of Rs 25.50 per kg in Kerala is not sufficient for farmers to meet their expenses. “As an association we can share the cost and it will be beneficial for us. Besides, we will get marketing support in other states,’’ said Krishnankutty, a paddy farmer and a member of the association, who has been cultivating organic matta rice in Palakkad.

According to Giridharan, who is a retired nutritional scientist, the long-term objective of the association includes making agriculture a financially viable occupation and ensuring safe health of consumers.

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