Madurai

No takers for kodukkapuli in the wake of lockdown

It has affected transportation of the Madras thorn fruit

Prolonged lockdown and limited working timings of markets has hit farmer K. Chinnapandi, 60, badly as he is unable to sell his kodukkapuli (Madras thorn fruit), which is available between January and May.

Mr. Chinnapandi of Chinnathathampatti near here has inherited several Madras Thorn trees from his father. “Some of the trees are as old as 80 years and had been raised by my father,” recalls the farmer. He sells the fruits from 100 trees across the State. He has market for this produce, liked for its sweet and sour taste, in Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Kovilpatti and Madurai.

“There are some people who fondly buy my produce from as far as Palladam near Coimbatore. I used to send them by bus every week and the money is deposited to my bank account,” Mr. Chinnapandi said. However, with no bus service now and very few cargo vehicle are operated after the lockdown that began on March 23, his problem started,” he said.

Mr. Chinnapandi has already left mulberry raised on five acres to dry up with severe water shortage. He raised groundnut though with reduced yield. He got a better harvest of guava some months back and now waiting for the next harvest in about a month.

“With the well having dried up, I’m pumping water from a borewell and diverted it from irrigating mulberry and carefully maintaining the Madras Thorn trees as they are ready for harvest,” he said. Last year, he managed to harvest upto 200 kg a day. But now the harvest has dwindled to 40 to 50 kg. Even this has no takers.

“It takes lot of time to pluck the fruits and grade them. By the time they reach the market, the traders hardly get adequate time to sell them as shops have to be shut by afternoon under the lockdown rules,” the farmer said. The traders are not paying him as they are not able to sell them.

Village children are very fond of this fruit. But with schools also remaining shut, the small vendors who sell them near schools are not buying it.

The fruits can remain fresh only for a maximum of four days. “With no cold storage facility, we are allowing the fruits to be feasted upon by birds,” he said.

The fruit has high medicinal values, Mr. Chinnapandi said adding that it acts as a laxative and also helps to keep the body heat down.

“Till now only the vagaries of weather has been playing with our fate. Now, Coronavirus fear too has hit us,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 8:14:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/no-takers-for-kodukkapuli-now/article31253613.ece

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