Coming up with a godown and cold storage facility at Kattuputhur near Thottiyam
TIRUCHI: The sub-regulated market with a godown and cold storage facility for banana coming up at Kattuputhur near Thottiyam in the district at a cost of Rs.75 lakh is expected to get operational by June.
According to sources, the work was initiated September last with funding from the Tamil Nadu Agriculture Marketing Board to build confidence of the farming community in and around Kattuputhur, which is solely dependent on plantain cultivation.
With the cold storage facility in place, the farmers can free themselves from the fear of incurring losses due to fluctuating market for the produce.
There is no cause for panic and farmers who are not able to sell their produce at the market on the day of harvest not only have the option of storing them at the facility, but also can avail themselves of the luxury of overnight stay at the complex.
"Hence, cultivators can store fruits for more than a week," says Balasubramaniam, Secretary of the Banana Agriculturists' Association, Kattuputhur.
Because of its perishable nature, the farmers used to take the help of agents to transport bananas to fruit markets in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, besides the main markets at Coimbatore and Chennai.
Several had to suffer losses either due to machinations of the agents or glut in the market.
An earlier plan of the Agricultural Marketing Board to get progressive farmers into buying refrigerated lorries through subsidy-linked loans did not take off.
The logistics did not suit because of the fear that the cost of transportation would escalate.
Local farmers see in the cold-storage facility a long-term and perennial solution for preserving the produce, for they can sell them off when the procurement price is satisfactory.
Though the cold storage facility with a capacity to accommodate bananas in 300 square metre space will not be enough considering that the crop is cultivated on 2,000 acres on an average every year by over 1,000 banana cultivators in Kattuputhur and surrounding villages, including Kaduvetti, Keelaipillayar Puthur, Muniyur, and Sriramasamudram, there are indications that the Tamil Nadu Agricultural Marketing Board will expand the infrastructure.
There is sufficient space in the over 1.5 acre complex for expansion.