The lockdown which has been imposed by various State Governments in India to avoid the spread of COVID-19 virus is mainly aimed at civilian movement across the States and to encourage social distancing. Government notifications clearly mentions that movement of essential commodities including fresh fruits and vegetables will not be hampered.

However, the authorities at the checkposts at the five Southern States are imposing restrictions even on movement of transport of fresh fruits and vegetables due to lack of clarity at their levels.

Even as many wholesale markets have been affected by the clampdown, some of the organised players, due to their network of farming clusters are able to source produce directly from farmers and ensure that the supply of fruits and vegetables are not disrupted. However, due to the confusion at the checkposts, the organised supply chain companies are facing problems.

“We have been striving that safe-to-consume fresh produce is made available to consumers which is highly important given the current scare of contamination and the requirement of adequate nutrition. We work with marginal farmers across South India and support them in growing safe fresh produce without harmful residues and then we take it through a process using advanced global technology to ensure its safety for consumer benefit. However, after all this effort, due to lack of clarity at the checkposts of states in South India, the entry of our vehicles is being either stopped or not allowed to return to home base,” said Palat Vijayaraghavan, founder & CEO, Lawrencedale Agro Processing India, which supplies high quality fresh produce to the five states across South India.

 “The move announced by the State Governments is extremely important and highly necessary to avoid the spread of the virus. However, we are facing severe challenges when we move hundreds of tons of fresh produce across the states. We sincerely request the state governments to intervene on an immediate basis and clarify the position to the checkpost authorities who are playing an important role,” added Vijayaraghavan.

LEAF is ensuring that its fleet of temperature-controlled vehicles are sanitised comprehensively before and after every trip and ensures that drivers have adequate sanitisers, masks and safe food for them to consume during the shipment.

“We are taking exhaustive steps to ensure our fleet of managers and operators are adequately protected and we are a responsible company serving the essential needs of citizens. We are fully following the local rules and regulations of all the State Governments.  Despite these, during the past few days, our movement has been restricted due to not enough clarification with officials manning the checkposts at the borders,” Vijayaraghavan highlighted.

LEAF has been working with government authorities closely, with all the states and hopes that this issue will be sorted out soon so that the important essential commodity of fresh fruits and vegetables are allowed to move across the borders between the five southern states.

LEAF on any given day moves scores of temperature-controlled trucks crisscrossing the five south Indian states bringing to various super-markets and neighbourhood retailers with its LEAF brand of safe-to-consume fresh produce.