Watermelon farmers of Jharkhand have suffered a double whammy. Due to the lockdown, neither the farmers could go to the market with their watermelon crop nor did the traders from outside reach them. Due to this the ready crop of watermelon remained in the fields. There was little hope left, it was broken due to cyclonic storm ‘Yas’ in May. Meanwhile, the army came out as an ‘angel’ for Bokaro farmer Ranjan Kumar Mahato and bought 5 tonnes of his watermelons at market price.
Actually there is a lockdown due to Corona virus. Due to which Ranjan Kumar, who made agriculture his employment after graduating from Ranchi University, was unable to sell his watermelon crop. Meanwhile, SRC officers including Commandant of Sikh Regimental Center (SRC) Brigadier M Sri Kumar visited the farm of farmer Ranjan Kumar. Then farmer Ranjan Kumar offered to give 5 tons of watermelon for the army for free. On this, the army bought all the watermelons of farmer Ranjan Kumar at market price.
‘Impressed by the farmer’s enthusiasm, bought five tons of watermelon’
Ramgarh Cantonment Board chairman Brigadier Kumar said, “We came to know that he started work two years ago, but he suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ranjan Kumar Mahato took up farming as his profession after not getting a job. Impressed by his enthusiasm, he bought five tonnes of watermelon.
This area of Bihar was once famous for gun and gunpowder, now farmers have changed its identity by growing watermelon
M Sri Kumar said that Ranjan took 25 acres of land at an annual rent of Rs 5,000 per acre and cultivated watermelon in six acres by investing Rs 15 lakh. The majority of his total 120 tonnes of watermelon crop is still in the fields waiting for buyers.
‘No one was ready to buy even for Rs 2 a kg in the village’
Farmer Ranjan Kumar said, “There were no buyers because of the lockdown. The crop started rotting. No one in the village was ready to buy it at Rs 2 per kg. We sought help from several departments but to no avail Eventually, I decided to give the produce free of cost to my brave soldiers and approached the cantonment.”