Techie turned agriculturist Yathish Shetty’s online-portal for farmers

Chetana Nayak K
February 9, 2019

Considering the benefits brought by online platform to retailers, this techie-turned farmer’s portal not only brings organic produce directly to the consumers, but also claims to increase farmers profitability by doing away with 'middle-men'.

Having been employed in IT firms for close to a decade, Yathish Shetty Bondala says that he yearned to get back to farming. "I come from a agrarian background, so farming has always been my passion. Having learnt of the benefits of organic farming from my father, I was always keen on promotion of such crops,” Yathish said.

Followed by the demise of his father Padmanabha Shetty, Yathish in 2015 decided to quit from his job at Hewlett Packard (HP) and returned back to his native to continue farming only for self-satisfaction, he says. “We are able to raise high-quality yields of Pineapple, Tapioca, Drumsticks, Cucumber, Basella alba (Basale Soppu). We even took-up Beekeeping and were able to harvest honey aswell. All this by using only organic methods of cultivation and manure” he says.

However, during the course of interaction with other farmers in the locality, Yathish realised that unlike his venture, the other farmers were not able to get good returns for similar kind of produce. Having resided in big cities like Bengaluru himself, Yathish says he knew of urbanites preference to organic crops over their chemical based counterpart, so it was a bit puzzling. Soon, Yathish realised that gullible farmers were victims of middle-men or brokers, who used to misguide the producers with price, weighing, and demand pattern of the consumers. “There was absolute lack of transparency in the marketing process, the expectation of the middle-men from the farmers crops were very high, but they paid in a unfair manner and always walked away with Lion’s share of the income,” Yathish says.

In consultation with his Techie wife Shridevi D N and cousin Rajath Shetty, the trio initially launched a Whatsapp in 2016, ‘Tulu Nadu Organic Producers’ and aggregate the list of farmers and sellers (No Middlemen/Brokers). But in a matter of a year, the membership of the total participants drastically increased, Yathish and his team soon realised that they had to accommodate direct transaction and they had to evolve to a website to channelize the trade in a systematic manner. Subsequently on May 2018, they soon started the a portal https://www.localfarmers.in/ for collective marketing.

“We have kept a simple interface, where information of agricultural products are displayed, some of them in Kannada aswell. Here the farmer have the option of fixing the price, including the transportation expense and all the other relevant details. The buyers of both individuals or wholesale can choose and order online” the 33-year old says.

The selected product can be paid via Unified Payment Interface (UPI) interface and at present is available for delivery at South Bengaluru, Dakshina Kannada  and Udupi district. “We will map other areas for supply soon,” Yathish says. .

The site also has displayed few home-made products like Halwa, Paneer, spices (without preservatives) and farm products like Ghee, Honey, Fruits, compost are available. Alternatively, the names of the retailers and their local establishments are also displayed, the customers can directly purchase from the store. “The customers are not charged for displaying the product, but if the products is sold through the site, a processing fee of 2.5%-5% is charged. But if their transaction is offline, they have no commitment to us,” Yathish says.

Further the agro-based food aggregation site is awaiting approval of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) soon for displaying other variants of home-made products.

For now close 50 locals farmers, including from Dakshina Kannada, Kasargod, Udupi district have listed their produce and its ‘organic-stalls’ have already been featured at IT campuses such as Infosys, local parks and trade-fairs, that has generated a lot of enthusiasm.

In its pipeline, the self-funded venture plans to provide certification and training for farmers in computers, digital marketing tools and keep them abreast with the best practices of organic farming.

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News Network
January 13,2022

Bengaluru, Jan 13: Karnataka may witness 20,000 to 70,000 daily hospitalisations for Covid by the end of January or February 2.

These are the new projections made by researchers at the Indian Statistical Institute and Indian Institute of Science on Tuesday.

Similarly, projections made by the researchers for ICU bed requirement shows that the state will require 1,000 beds to more than 3,000 beds by February 2.

As per projections made by another group INDSCI-SIM (Indian Scientists’ Response to Covid-19), Karnataka, by January 25, will have 35,000 daily cases and 500 to 5,000 severe cases, based on whether individuals are fully vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Prof Gautam Menon, professor of Physics and Biology, Ashoka University, Haryana, who has worked on several Covid models and is a part of INDSCI-SIM, said, “Across the country, we expect six lakh to nine lakh new Covid cases to be reported at the peak between January 21 and February 10. By March, the curve will flatten. Another common thing with projections from other models is that the number of cases will be larger than the second wave.”

Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA) president Dr H M Prasanna said, “The state’s private sector does not have 1.4 lakh beds as is being reported. When the second wave started, we checked and there were only 66,000 beds. This is as per the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust portal. We don’t know when it increased. Maybe the government is factoring in medical college hospital beds.”

Estimating the number of beds in private hospitals, he said, there are around 6,500 private hospitals in Karnataka, apart from medical colleges.

“In all, there are 70,000 beds in private hospitals and medical colleges. In both the government and private sector, there may not be more than one lakh beds,” he said.

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News Network
January 10,2022

Mangaluru, Jan 10: Dakshina Kannada Member of Parliament and Karnataka BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel tested positive for COVID-19 on January 10.

In a tweet, Mr. Kateel said he has tested positive for COVID-19, and he is asymptomatic. Those who have come in contact with him in the last few days should get themselves tested, he added.

This is the second time Mr. Kateel has tested positive for COVID-19. He was earlier in quarantine during the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020.

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News Network
January 9,2022

congress.jpg

The Congress in Karnataka on Sunday began its 10 days 'padayatra' (march), demanding implementation of the Mekedatu project across the Cauvery river, despite the government's COVID-19 restrictions. Led by Congress' state president D K Shivakumar and Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Siddaramaiah, the padayatra with the theme 'Namma Neeru Namma Hakku' (Our water, Our right) began at the Sangama, the confluence of Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers in Kanakapura here, which will be spanning a distance of over 100 km.

With participation from hundreds of workers, leaders and cultural groups, the principal opposition party in the state is going ahead with the march, as planned, unfazed by the government's warning of action in case of violation of COVID restrictions and rules.

It now remains to be seen what action will the government take, with a large number of people gathering in violation of rules and orders.

The Karnataka government has imposed a curfew on weekends and restricted public gatherings to fight the third wave of COVID-19, till January 19. It has also imposed night curfew, and has prohibited all rallies, dharnas, protests, among others.

Congress has maintained that it will hold the padayatra following COVID rules and guidelines

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah, former Chief Minister Veerappa Moily, and almost all the senior party leaders and legislators were present at the inaugural of the padayatra, that is likely to cove a distance of about 15 km on the day one.

Some religious leaders and film personalities like actor Duniya Vijay, actor and music director Sadhu Kokila, were among others seen at the inaugural.

Projecting it as an apolitical "Walk for Water," the Congress has invited seers of various mutts, organisations, leaders of various political parties, film personalities, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, among others to take part in the march.

Accusing the BJP government of trying to scuttle the padayatra, Siddaramaiah accused the ruling BJP of colluding with Tamil Nadu in delaying the implementation of Mekedatu project.

Claiming that the project was initiated by the Congress government led by him, he alleged that the ruling BJP has betrayed the people of the state by not getting environmental clearance despite being in power for last 2.5 years, and even accused the central government of not giving clearance, as the saffron party wants to expand its base in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

"This padayatra is for getting water to Bengaluru and surrounding areas by implementing Mekedatu project, there is no stay for the project by courts or tribunals or Cauvery Water Management Authority.....Our padayatra will not stop, let how much ever the BJP try to stop it," he added.

Shivakumar, who is also MLA from Kanakapura, hitting out at Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai for trying to "thwart" the padayatra by asking the district administration to issue prohibitory orders, he dared him to arrest them if he could.

"This march is not for the Congress party or for the sake of power, it is for the sake of the people.... Like Congress fought against the British then for India's freedom, today we are fighting against BJP and Janata Dal.... SP (Superintendent of Police), Home Minister- you have issued orders against the law, we will not fear it....we will peacefully march following COVID rules," he added.

The Congress' march from Mekedatu to Bengaluru, covering about 15 of the 224 Assembly constituencies in the state, is demanding implementation of the Mekedatu project, which is being opposed by neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

Beginning at Sangama the padayatra is scheduled to pass through Kanakapura, Ramanagara and Bidadi, before culminating at Basavanagudi in Bengaluru on January 19.

Though the padayatra is being projected as apolitical, demanding the implementation of Mekedatu project, it is also seen as Congress' attempt to mobilise its cadres and consolidate its voter base in the old Mysuru region, which is a Vokkaliga bastion, where JD(S) is its traditional rival and the ruling BJP is attempting to make inroads, ahead of 2023 assembly polls.

Much is at stake for Shivakumar, the man behind this march, as several Congress functionaries believe that it is an attempt by the KPCC chief, ahead of assembly polls, to assert his Chief Ministerial ambitions, for which Siddaramaiah is also a strong contender. The party has seen several incidents of political one-upmanship between the two leaders last year.

Shivakumar took a dip in the river and performed pooja at the Sangam ahead of the padayatra's inaugural.

Both ruling BJP and JD(S) have hit out Congress calling its march as a "political stunt" ahead of assembly election next year, and has questioned its morality, accusing the grand old party of not putting any efforts to take the project forward while in power.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has maintained that his government was committed to implement the project.

Karnataka government submitted a Detailed Project Report (DPR) to the Central Water Commission (CWC) in 2019, which was then referred to the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA), where it is stuck currently as Tamil Nadu which is the lower riparian state, has opposed the project tooth and nail.

Karnataka has maintained that the project within its territory will benefit both states as the surplus water stored can be managed between the two during the distress year, and its implementation will in no way affect the interests of Tamil Nadu's farming communities, as there will be no impact on its share of water.

While the neighbouring state is of the view that the project would "impound and divert" the uncontrolled water flow due to Tamil Nadu from Kabini sub- basin, the catchment area below Krishnarajasagara, and also from Simsha, Arkavathy and Suvarnavathi sub-basins besides other small streams.

The Mekedatu multipurpose (drinking and power) project, which involves building a balancing reservoir, near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district of Karnataka.

The project once completed is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighbouring areas (4.75 TMC) and also can generate 400 MW power, and the estimated cost of the project is Rs 9,000 crore.

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