Farmers distribute 10,001 pineapples for free in Thrikkakara as protest

Pineapple farmers from Vazhakkulam distributed 10,001 best-quality pineapples free of cost to people in the Thrikkakara Assembly constituency on Tuesday to protest against what they said was a steep fall in demand for the fruit and subsequent dip in prices.

“There is nobody to buy the fruit even at prices as low as ₹10 a kg for the best quality,” said Baby John, a veteran farmer. He said farmers were ready to distribute more fruits in the coming days to draw attention to the current market situation that has triggered despair among them.

The fruit was distributed for free in the Thrikkakara constituency where the Assembly byelection is due on May 31.

Mr. John said the distribution was done to draw the attention of the State authorities to the plight of pineapple farmers as the entire State machinery and the media had focused on the constituency.

The fruit was first distributed at the NGO quarters in the heart of Thrikkakara and later at Palarivattom junction. The farmers have complained that while the government had declared a support price for the fruit, there was no procurement being made. Even the fruit processing plant, meant to help the farmers when the prices went down, was not active, Mr. John said, adding that farmers such as him are ready to send more pineapples for free distribution as the fruit was virtually rotting in the plantations

According to data from the department of agriculture, pineapple is cultivated in 5,375 hectares in Ernakulam district, and the total production was more than 8,500 tonnes last year. It is estimated that there are around 18,000 hectares under pineapple cultivation in the State with more than 5.4 lakh tonnes of production.

The GI-tagged Vazhakkulam variety of the fruit, known for its delicate flavour and sweetness, is cultivated across the State. Vazhakkulam is deemed one of the largest pineapple markets in Asia.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 5:40:10 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/farmers-distribute-10001-pineapples-for-free-in-thrikkakara-as-protest/article65425774.ece