Amid the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, the Telugu Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are helping the farmers of Andhra Pradesh in distress by procuring their produce in mass numbers and then distributing it to the poor and needy for free. The mission, known as the "Tomato Challenge" has been initiated by the NRIs to raise funds to help the Andhra Pradesh farmers who are at a loss because of all their unsold produce. This initiative has been taken by Dr Vasudeva Reddy, an NRI from the USA who started the "Tomato Challenge", to bring together fellow NRIs in Chittoor district. This is done especially for the vegetable farmers, who have no option, but to dump the vegetables if they are not sold.
"Small and marginal farmers are suffering during this corona crisis. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy is doing a lot for the people. However, farmers are incurring losses as they are unable to transport their produce due to inter-state lockdown and lack of transportation," said Dr Vasudeva Reddy.
"We thought of how to help those farmers and started this 'Tomato Challenge'. Many celebrities and kind-hearted NRIs are contributing to our task. Particularly, we came to know that farmers in Chittoor and Anantapuram district and tomato farmers at Prakasam district have lost a lot of their produce. We came forward to help the farmers. I thank every NRI who has cooperated in this endeavour," he added.
As of today, they have procured 13 tonnes of sweet potato, 40 tonnes of tomatoes, 2 tonnes of cabbage, 3 tonnes of brinjal and 5 tonnes of carrot from farmers at Tamballapalle village. They have also distributed 5 tonnes of tomato, 2 tonnes of carrot, 2 tonnes of cabbage and 1 tonne of beetroot to the poor people in Padmavati Nagar, Timmapalem in Tirupati town.