Pineapple farmers reel under price fall, pandemic curbs

A file photo of a pineapple street vendor in Kochi.   | Photo Credit: H. VIBHU

Already reeling under a steep fall in the fruit price, pineapple farmers have been now hit by restrictions and the lockdown-like controls imposed to contain the fresh wave of COVID-19.

The price of pineapple dropped to ₹19 a kg on Tuesday from the previous level of over ₹40 and looks set to go down further, said Jose Perumpallikkunnel, pineapple farmer. The slowdown in upcountry markets and the raging COVID-19 conditions in cities such as Mumbai have seen the demand going down sharply.

There have been restrictions in the movement of workers, which is affecting garden maintenance and harvesting, said veteran farmer Baby John. He said that the movement of workers had been seriously affected because, in many cases, farmers could not afford to put up the workers at the plantation sites.

The worst hit are the small and marginal planters for whom work may not be continuous. Therefore, they rely on workers who come to the sites on a daily basis, he said. This entails daily transport of workers.

There have been restrictions on the movement of workers despite the government stating that farming operations would not be disrupted because of the COVID-19 restrictions, Mr. Permpallikunnel said.

The restrictions have seriously affected harvesting even as the demand for the fruit is likely to move up even marginally with the Ramazan season in progress. This may also help the price to move up even as the current price level is unremunerative and farmers are making losses at this level.

It is estimated that around 5,000 farmers are involved in pineapple cultivation in the State. The 18,000 hectares under the crop produces around 5.5 lakh tonnes of fruit a year. The bulk of the produce is sent out to other States.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 5:58:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/pineapple-farmers-reel-under-price-fall-pandemic-curbs/article34483144.ece

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