The lockdown restrictions imposed by the government brought all sectors to a grinding halt, including agriculture. With trucks forced to go off roads and borders sealed, the farmers were left in the lurch. But, since ‘necessity is the mother of all inventions’. many farmers changed their tactics and took to social media platforms to recoup their investments. Though they have not been able to glean the returns like before, the farmers feel something is better than nothing.
“Normally, what I used to do was lease out my mango farms. The contractor carried out the harvest and sale of the fruits. But, Covid-19 put a halt to all that and I had to watch the fruits wither away,” said Stanley Paul. That is when he thought of taking to the social media platform to save at least some of his investment.
“I grow mostly Selam mangoes which don’t have many takers in the state. However, they are favourites in Delhi and Gujarat besides the UAE,” said Stanley. According to him, in March, he used to export over 300 tonnes of fruits and the remaining used to be supplied to the pulp factories in April. “But these factories too are yet to open,” he said.
So, Stanley began selling mangoes to people via WhatsApp. “Though the profit margin is nil, I am happy. At this rate, I won’t be able to break even since I sell fruits at half the usual price,” he said. However, he is not looking at profit. “I just want to finish the stock,” he said.
Eden of Hope is another WhatsApp-based fruit and vegetable provider. “Our primary product is jackfruits,” said Farzin Muhammed, one of the four BTech graduates who decided to help out the farmers tide over the crisis. “Usually, the jackfruits are harvested in bulk by people from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, who book trees in every area. But, the lockdown and closure of the borders prevented these contractors from arriving,” said Farzin.