Pineapple farmers seek ro-ro train service

Published - October 15, 2023 11:29 pm IST - KOCHI

Pineapple farmers have said if a roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) rail service is available from a convenient railway station for despatching pineapple from Kerala to upcountry destinations such as Mumbai and Delhi, it will help them immensely to supply the fresh fruits to these markets.

Nowadays, it takes about five days for the fruit from most Kerala markets, including the pineapple hub Vazhakkulam to reach Delhi. The time taken to transport the fruits to Delhi can be cut to about two-and-a-half to three days if the train service is available.

In the roll-on roll-off service, the entire lorry is loaded onto the trains to enable the fruits to be distributed to the market from the rail station itself without having to unload or reload the consignments.

Pineapple farmer Baby John in Muvattupuzha said that the farmers have been demanding that the service be made available for a long time now and petitions had been submitted to the railway authorities.

He said that the ro-ro service can also save immensely on transport cost. Around 30 loads of ten to twenty tonnes are despatched from Kerala on a daily basis to Delhi during the peak time. A twenty-tonne lorry load will cost around ₹1.5 lakh to reach Delhi. A ten-tonne load will cost around ₹1.10 lakh.

The pineapple farmers also feel that the ro-ro service can be utilised by other industries such as the plywood industry in Perumbavoor and rice millers in the neighbouring areas like Kalady. Such services are available from several points on the railway link, Mr. John added.

The fruit farmers feel that the ro-ro service will not only reduce the cost of transport and also the price of final sale but also provide fresh and better quality fruit.

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