The festival saw a footfall of more than eight lakh people leading to a shortage of groundnuts.
On the third day of Kadalekai Parishe, the authorities closed the fair after most farmers exhausted their groundnut stocks. Kadalekai Parishe which began on Sunday witnessed a footfall of more than eight lakh people. The organisers had expected a footfall of five to six lakh.
L A Ravi Subramanya, Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Basavanagudi Constituency said, “Due to the pandemic, the footfall was not great last year. This year, we were forced to close the fair because there were no more groundnuts. Everybody expected a footfall of five to six lakhs, but apparently it was more than eight lakhs. Also, it is hard to manage such an event for so many days. We have to clean the roads every day which can be done only post midnight after the fair closes. Even the roads are blocked during for the fair, we cannot keep it open for any longer.”
He also added, “This year, there are fewer number of farmers selling groundnuts compared to previous years.” There were around 300-400 groundnut vendors. The average price of groundnut was Rs 50-60 per kilogram. Each groundnut vendor sold 50-100 bags of groundnuts. The minimum revenue earned by the farmers was more than Rs. 8 crore during the whole festival. Whereas the total revenue earned by all kinds of vendors was more than Rs. 20 crore.
“We do not count the exact revenue every year, but we are thinking of doing it from next year,” he said.
Mahendiran, a farmer from Dharmapuri District of Tamil Nadu, at the Kadalekai Parishe said, “I am selling groundnuts here with my mother since the first day of the festival. We are earning Rs. 1000-2000 per day. We have been selling groundnuts here for five years and this is the highest footfall that we have ever seen. It was never this crowded before. During the pandemic, our income was affected when the fair was not being organized. But we tried to sell it near our hometown.”
Dr. Saurabh Malhotra, Dean Academics at Safalta Group said, “If the footfall was high and was more than expected, the farmers should have increased the price of the groundnut accordingly to earn the profit. The farmers must be paying rent for the space where they have put their stalls. There should be a policy in the agreement where a proportionate reimbursement is given to the farmers.”