Now, Bengal's bitter gourd is Singapore-bound
Vegetables, mainly bitter gourd, produced in Alipurduar in large quantity is all set to get exported to Singapore.
Bitter gourd from Alipurduar is sent to several other parts of the country including Maharastra, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir. This comes when the state government has considerably inspired farmers for direct sell instead of taking assistance from middlemen, who hoard vegetables for making more profit and on the other hand doesn't give money that a farmer deserves.
In the past few years, a co-operative of bitter gourd farmers has been formed and it is the same one that took the initiative to export the produce.
First, a survey was conducted in the area and a data containing all details about bitter gourd cultivation was prepared. It took around six months to complete the survey. The data revealed that there were around 2,000 bitter gourd cultivators. Subsequently, the co-operative was formed that started working for the benefit of farmers. They were also being helped by Jalpaiguri Central Co-operative Bank.
Formation of the co-operative society helped in increasing their market where they could sell their produce. The farmers were aggrieved that they had to incur losses almost in every session as there were no proper markets to sell their produce. Now, the farmers can sell their produce at the right price and make profit as well. It may be mentioned that since the change of guard in the state, priority has been given to benefits of farmers and measures have been taken to ensure that not a single cultivator suffers any losses.
It may be mentioned that the farmers had repeatedly approached the erstwhile Left Front government with requests to take steps to ensure a more profit for farmers and to help increase their market. The co-operative society is now, trying all out to export the same in many other countries as well.
It may be mentioned that a few months ago some Farmers' Producers Organisations (FPOs) from Bankura had initiated the export of organic vegetables including green chillies, collacassia, papayas, onion flowers and pumpkins to countries in the Middle East. It was also exported in South East Asian countries, UK and the US.