Kerala’s pineapple farmers fear the summer

Pineapple farmers are happy as the price is around ₹30 a kg for the best fruits.

Pineapple farmers are happy as the price is around ₹30 a kg for the best fruits.  

They fear possible yield losses in the long term

The rising atmospheric temperature has left pineapple farmers fretting over possible yield losses in the long term, while the upcountry demand for the fruit is surging, with the summer setting in in north India. But for now, farmers are contented as the price is ruling around ₹30 a kg for the best quality ripe and raw fruits.

The rising day-time temperature is not a cause for worry now as farmers are getting a remunerative price, and harvests are coming in. But a further rise in temperature can hit the crop badly, said T. Maya, scientist in charge of the Pineapple Research Station at Vazhakkulam. Jose Joe Joseph, secretary, Pineapple Farmers’ Association, said farmers had begun irrigating fields in some places, while the others are looking to begin watering the plants where water availability is an issue. The rising temperature is a big challenge, he said, pointing to the positive market sentiments as the reason for farmers’ contentment.

Farmers take a double hit with the soaring mercury. Fruit yields will be affected in the long term. In the short term, harvested fruits get easily damaged and spoiled in the heat.

Kerala’s pineapple farmers fear the summer

The rising heat and the unfolding worries have not prevented farmers from going ahead with organising a cooking and harvest contest on Saturday at Kalloorkkad, in the heart of the pineapple country. Mr. Joseph said farmers coming up with the biggest fruits would be honoured at the contest. Besides, there will be a cookery contest on February 22 to determine the best pineapple-based fare. The contest is open to anyone with a mind for cooking and can prepare curries and pickles, cake and wine, syrups and jams, and halwas and soft drinks, said Mr. Joseph.

The pineapple festival will also see experts in food production leading sessions on value-added pineapple products. There will also be a session each on soil conditions for pineapple farming and the use of MD2 variety of pineapple in place of the currently popular Mauritius variety.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 12:27:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/rising-heat-gives-the-jitters-to-pineapple-ryots/article30874882.ece

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