Double whammy for plantain farmers

The restrictions put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 and a sharp decline in price of the produce have hit plantain farmers in Wayanad, a major ‘Nendran’ growing area in the State.

The spot price of first-grade Nendran variety was between ₹25 and ₹30 a kg in Wayanad on Saturday as against ₹42 a kg two weeks ago. According to trading circles, the closure of markets during the period led to the slump in price.

The price of second-grade plantain in the market is ₹20 a kg, but traders have been refusing to buy the produce in the past week on the grounds that there is no demand for it, said K. Shibu, a farmer from Venniyodu.

₹4 lakh spent

He had planted 2,000 plantain saplings on leased land this year, spening nearly ₹4 lakh for cultivation, including the rent on land. “A farmer can recoup his investment only if he gets a minimum of ₹250 from a plant,” Mr. Shibu said.

Many farmers in the district had cultivated plantain expecting a better price for the produce during the Ramzan period. With the input cost, including land rent, fertilizer prize, and labour cost, going up considerably this year, many farmers could not recoup their investment, according to Venu Keezhanikkal, a farmer from Padinharethara.

Moreover, summer rain and heavy winds destroyed plantain saplings in many parts of the district, leaving hundreds of farmers with poor quality produce, the demand for which was less.

According to the preliminary reports of the Agriculture Department, as many as 9,10,152 bunched and non-bunched banana plantains cultivated on 500.6 hectares were uprooted in the winds. An estimated loss of ₹48.64 crore was reported in the plantain sector alone and 3,788 farmers were affected.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 7:46:13 PM |

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