Lockdown hits mango farmers in Rajapalayam, Srivilliputtur

Lockdown has hit mango farmers of Rajapalayam and Srivilliputtur Taluks hard. There were no takers for their produce at a make-shift mango auction market in Rajapalayam on Wednesday.

The farmers have appealed to Virudhunagar district administration to exempt mango trading from lockdown rules.

President of Tamizhaga Vivasaigal Sangam N.A. Ramachandra Raja said the district administration shifted the auction market to New Bus Stand to prevent crowding and ensure social distancing.

However, when farmers from several villages in the two taluks took their produce to the market, there were not many takers as traders from Kerala and Madurai could not come due to the lockdown.

“Mango is cultivated in at least 10,000 hectares in Virudhunagar district and predominantly in the two taluks of Rajapalayam and Srivilliputtur. The peak yield of fruits is summer and it goes upto July,’ Mr. Ramachandra Raja said.

In the absence of traders from Kerala and Madurai, locals tried to buy Balamani, Sappatta, Kilimookku and Panchavarnam at rock bottom prices.

“While the average price for a kg of mango was around ₹40 to ₹50 last year, the traders quoted ₹8 to ₹10 a kg this season. Not wanting to sell the produce at such a huge loss, the farmers took the fruits home,” he said.

At least 250 tonnes of mangoes could not be sold. The farmers had to spend at least ₹40 per kg as production cost towards fertilizer, pesticide and wages for workers and the current trend would hit them hard, he added.

He wanted the government to permit traders from Kerala, which was a big market for mangoes from Rajapalayam and Madurai, to visit the auction market. The administration could also make efforts to sell the fruits through e-market to protect the interests of farmers.

“Even the High Court had asked the State government to buy agricultural products during such tough days to protect the farmers,” Mr. Ramachandra Raja said.

The farmers also wanted a mango pulp factory in the region.

Meanwhile, a senior official in the Department of Agriculture said the daily average sale during auctioning was 80 tonnes. “If farmers brought the fruits everyday, it would have fetched them good price. But, since they plucked the fruits after a gap of two days and came with unusually higher quantity, the prices dropped drastically due to lack of demand.”

Farmers from Watrap were getting a good price as they managed to take their fruits to Madurai, he added.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 2:56:17 AM |

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