Farmers suffer as squash price drops due to COVID

NONGSTOIN: Farmers of Mawthadraishan Area under the banner of The Synjuk of Farmers in Mawthadraishan Area has expressed concern over the fall of price of squash (piskot) which is the sole income for the farmers during this season.
E.K.Dkharrit sordar of Upper Laitkseh village who is also the President of the Synjuk told that the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the market of squash (piskot) this year, which has affected the farmers of the area.
Mawthadraishan is the only area in West Khasi Hills where farmers have keen interest in squash business and about 80% of the total populations of Mawthadraishan block depend from marketing their own local product.
Dkharrit told that in previous years squash (piskot) use to be transported outside the state with a stable price from Rs.18 to 20 per kg but this year the price has fallen down to Rs.7 to 8 per kg putting the farmers in a tough situation.
“Every year the farmers used their own transportation for selling their produce in Assam, but because of the pandemic no one was taking risks and as a result big traders from outside have been buying their produce at a very low price”, Dkharrit said.
He added that farmers succumb to the middleman’s demands and end up earning lower returns for their produce.
Farmers also told that no stable fund or scheme was received from the government for growing their business but they thanked MGNREGA for assisting some farmers in constructing permanent pillars to support the cultivation of the vegetable. The Synjuk also urged the State government to clarify whether or not squash (piskot) was considered to be agricultural produce.

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