An old news bulletin of Asianet Malayalam showing farmers dumping tomatoes in Karnataka is viral on social media falsely linking it to the recent repeal of the farm laws by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The viral claim states that the farmers will now be able to understand the importance of farm laws after Modi announced the scrapping of the three contentious laws on November 19, 2021 following a year of protests. Modi, in a televised address to the nation, announced that the government would repeal the laws as it couldn't convince a section of farmers on the merits of the new farm law. Amid protests from Opposition parties, both the houses passed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill without any discussion on November 29, of the winter session on Monday.
The caption with the video in Hindi translates to, "In South India, the brokers are not giving the correct price of tomato to the farmers , they are giving 75 paise per kg. That's why farmers are throwing tomatoes on the side of the roads , there is a shortage in North India due to touts, Now everyone will understand the importance of Modi ji's farm law."
(Original Text in Hindi: दक्षिण भारत में टमाटर का सही मूल्य दलाल लोग किसानों को नही दे रहे हैं,, 75 पैसे प्रति किलो दे रहे हैं। इसलिए किसान लोग टमाटर सड़कों के किनारे फेक रहे है,, उत्तर भारत मे किल्लत मची है दलालों के कारण,, मोदी जी का किसान कानून का महत्व अब सबको समझ आएगा।।)
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The video is viral on Facebook with a similar caption.
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The same video was sent to BOOM's tipline number for verification.
BOOM ran a keyword search on the Asianet news bulletin in Malayalam and found the video on its official YouTube channel posted on May 15, 2021. The title with the video in Malayalam translates to, "Lockdown: Tomato farmers in distress in Karnataka".
(Original Text in Malayalam: ലോക്ക് ഡൗൺ: കർണാടകത്തിലെ തക്കാളി കർഷകർ ദുരിതത്തിൽ)
Taking a cue from this, we searched on YouTube and found several news reports from Amar Ujala, One India News containing the same visuals uploaded on May 2021. The news reports stated that the farmers in Karnataka's Kolar were compelled to dump crates of tomatoes by the roadside during that time after their produce went unsold in the district's APMC market.
According to a Deccan Herald report published on May 24, 2021, "Muted demand has turned the moderate produce of tomatoes into excess supply as restrictions on interstate transport, closure of hotels and a ban on events have all contributed to the loss of the tomato farmers in Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts. According to farmers, more than 30% of their produce has remained unsold in the past two months. Over the weekend, at least 10,000 boxes of tomatoes went waste as they were not called for auction at CMR Mandi at Kolar."
Peddur Janardhan Gowda, a farmer from Kolar, told Deccan Herald, "I would have to pay around Rs 7-8 lakh for labour to harvest my 6-acre field. But we get only Rs 40-50 for 15 kg in the private Mandis. That is why I have left more than 2 acres unharvested."
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