Why are farmers wary of corporates? These Kerala farmers have a tale to tell

Kerala farmers are now keeping their fingers crossed — not only for justice in their case, but also for victory of farmers protesting in Delhi | Image - Eunice Dhivya

Alibhai, a coconut farmer in Kerala, isn’t aware of the ongoing protest against the new farm laws, at the Delhi border. The 67-year-old finds it strenuous to read the newspaper because of his weakening eyesight. Nor does he find his smartphone user-friendly. Old age ailments and a fading memory have made Alibhai weak. But despite his age and health, he can’t think of retiring. For, he has to repay a loan he took 16 years ago.

Back in 2003-04, Alibhai was among the many farmers in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to be wooed by alluring advertisements to try their luck with a new crop — safed musli, a medicinal herb.

At least 80 farmers from the three states engaged in a tripartite contract with Hyderabad-based Nandan Biomatrix and its Kerala franchisee Herbz India.

The agreement stipulated that the company would provide seeds at ₹500 per kg. The farmers had to cultivate the herb at their own cost and the company would buy the crop at a price not less than ₹1,000 per kg of dry musli.

To continue reading this article...

You have to be a Premium Subscriber

Start your subscription with a free trial

Enjoy unlimited Eighth column, archives and games on
thefederal.com and thefederal.com and many more features.
You will also be supporting ethical and unbiased journalism.
plans start from Rs. 99
Get breaking news and latest updates from India
and around the world on thefederal.com
FOLLOW US: