Covid disrupts pineapple supply chain in upcountry markets

Vazhakulam Pineapple, the GI-tagged fruit, which catapulted to world-wide fame the if not diminishing agricultural dominance of Kerala, is experiencing the brunt of the Covid-19 crisis.

Farmers, who carry out farming on leased lands with financial institution financial loans, are experiencing the greatest crisis with provide chains shut and crops going squander. They have sought emergency aid packages from both the central and point out governments to tide in excess of the crisis.

James George, President, All Kerala Pineapple Farmers Association, said that farmers on an ordinary commit ₹6.25 lakh per hectare each individual calendar year, harvesting all-around five lakh tonns of pineapple. Most of the significant timers are farming on leased land, primarily amidst rubber plantations. When the charges ended up hovering all-around ₹39-45 per kg during March-April 2019, farmers took far more land on lease for farming.

Even so, the charges tanked to all-around ₹10 per kg on an ordinary thanks to delivery difficulties, when the value of creation was at the very least ₹25 per kg. There was substantial need for the fruit in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Chennai, in addition to the surge in need during Ramadan, when at the very least two,000 tonnes are harvested each individual working day. This calendar year, this peak season for pineapple was shattered by the Covid-19 pandemic, as most north Indian marketplaces ended up shut and cargoes ended up not moving at all, he said.

With daily losses believed at all-around ₹5 crore considering that March 2020, the whole losses would include up to ₹300 crore. Presented the condition, the association has asked the govt to create off the curiosity on financial loans and restructure all existing financial loans without curiosity for up to two many years.

Presently, the bare minimum procurement price made available by the govt is ₹15, which would be hiked to ₹25 in proportion to the value of creation. A subsidy of ₹10 per kg for the fruit, which was produced during this season, has also been sought.

The association also highlighted the crisis looming on the labour entrance, as pineapple farming is a labour-intense activity, creating all-around one hundred seventy times of work per calendar year on an acre of land. The departure of migrant workers back again to their household states in significant numbers has terribly influenced pineapple harvesting and processing.

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