watermelon farmers plea
Mazbat MLA Charan Boro (left) handing over a memorandum to Assam agriculture minister Atul Bora (right)

COVID-19 Adversely Affects Assam's Watermelon Farmers

May 26, 2021

Watermelon farmers of the Udalguri district in Assam are staring at dark days ahead as they are set to suffer heavy post-harvest losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An overwhelming 7600 individuals took up watermelon cultivation spread over 3800 hectares of land in the district.

The farmers, most of whom are educated unemployed, enthusiastically came forward to be self-dependent and earn a respectable livelihood through farming.

Their dreams were shattered when the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the state government resorted to imposing restrictions in markets and transportation, affecting their post-harvest business adversely.

Taking note of the issue, Mazbat MLA Charan Boro met Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and state agriculture minister Atul Bora and apprised the duo of the distress of the watermelon farmers.

He also submitted two separate memorandums to the CM and the agriculture minister urging them to look into the issue and direct appropriate measures as an immediate remedy for the farmers.

In the memorandum, he noted, “Around 76,000 MT of watermelons were produced and 40,000 MTs had been procured amid the lockdown.”

“Though the watermelon farmers were able to sell the produce at just Rs 8 per/kg initially, the price further fell to 2.50 per/kg.”

“Now, around 35,000 MT of watermelons are lying in the agriculture lands only to rot due to the absence of buyers,” the MLA noted.

Only to make things worse, some of the watermelon farmers had also taken hefty loans from local lenders and are unable to pay them back as their business crumpled.

"The chief minister and the agriculture minister gave a very patient hearing to the issues and assured of assistance to the farmers," MLA Boro informed the media.

"It is very disheartening to see youths who enthusiastically came forward in the farming sector experiencing distress," he further added.

"In this hour of need, we must stand by them and not let their hopes die," he further said.

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