Members of the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association have called upon the Agriculture Department to both create awareness and stop sale of dubious horticultural product seedlings by unscrupulous traders from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh in integrated Vellore district.
According to a progressive farmer K Raja, “unscrupulous traders from AP enter the district and sell seedlings of plants that never bear fruit even after years. Referring to their modus operandi, he said, “they would approach farmers with colourful booklets and offer a package which includes the farmer purchasing the seedling/sapling with the ‘company’ providing the necessary after sales service, including regular treatment of the plants sold and also “providing” injections for coconut trees to make them yield within a couple of years.”
A former panchayat president near Latheri on condition of anonymity said, “I purchased lime seedlings some years ago after paying such mobile AP traders a hefty amount and now finally cut down the plants 10 days ago as they neither flowered nor bore fruit.”
Similarly, another farmer at Palleri in Wallajahpet panchayat union purchased coconut saplings with borrowed funds and when the promised yields – dwarf variety trees yielding within three years – failed to materialise, the farmer sold his land and left the area, sources revealed.
AP traders know that it is sowing season in Tamil Nadu and farmers would be interested in saplings for various varieties and hence approach lonely farms with the intent of taking them for a ride.
Raja said, “the issue can be solved if the Agriculture Department provides the seedlings/saplings. An area wise survey will reveal both demand size and the crops required, he added. The Navlak farm in Ranipet which recently sold 400 coconut saplings within hours is equipped for this task, he said.