Monsoon failure and shrinking area of cultivation makes fruits costlier

Banana is no more a poor man’s fruit, thanks to spiralling prices over the last few days. The prices are expected to go up further in the future.

The retail price of banana has touched an all-time high of Rs.10 a fruit. Poor arrival of banana to the wholesale fruit market at Batlagundu has shot up the prices of the fruit.

Monsoon failure for the last two years and shrinking area under banana cultivation are some of the reasons cited for the poor arrival, opine traders.

A majority of farmers have abandoned the banana crop and shifted to perennial crops owing to shortage of water and depletion of storage in Marudhanadhi and Manjalar dams.

Arrival of banana from Dindigul and Theni districts has come down sharply. At present, the wholesale market depends on banana grown in Kulithalai and Lalgudi in Tiruchi district.

Normally, the market receives around 7,000 to 10,000 banana bunches every week. But the arrival to the market recently got slashed to 1,000 to 2,000 bunches only.

Banana price

When contacted, banana commission trader Thomas says that prices of ‘Rasthali’ variety of banana hovers between Rs.600 and Rs.900 per bunch, from Rs.300, registering a three times hike within a short span of time. ‘Sevvazhai’ is being sold at Rs.900 and prices of ‘Karpuravalli’ oscillate between Rs.400 and Rs.500 per bunch. ‘Poovan’ variety is being sold at Rs.300 to Rs.400 per bunch. “Earlier, we had struggled to sell one bunch even at Rs.100. Prices of these fruits rose by 200 to 300 per cent from its usual price,” say traders.

Increase in the arrival of banana alone will bring down the price.

Expanding the area under banana cultivation and improving the yield will help stabilise the prices. But the present scenario will not change in the near future, add traders.

At present, a single banana fruit is being sold at Rs.10 in the district, shocking all sections of the people.

Batlagundu is one of the major banana markets in the State. Traders here send bananas to Kerala, Karnataka, Hosur, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Tirunelveli and Chennai.

The market functions twice a week.

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