Tamil Nadu

Horticulture Department comes to the rescue of jackfruit farmers in Tamil Nadu

Jackfruit being mobilised from farmers at an orchard in Panruti in Cuddalore district

Jackfruit being mobilised from farmers at an orchard in Panruti in Cuddalore district   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Department has bought the fruits from farmers in Cuddalore district and is distributing them in kit bags to front-line workers

The Horticulture Department of Tamil Nadu has come to the rescue of jackfruit farmers who had cultivated the crop but were in distress due to the slump in sales during the lockdown.

Panruti, in Cuddalore district, is home to the largest area in jackfruit cultivation in the State with the fruit being cultivated over 700 hectares in the district.

Farmers there were apprehensive about selling their fruit, but the Department then came forward and purchased the fruits for distribution along with vegetable bags to front-line workers, relieving the farmers of their worries. The jackfruits were procured by the Department from farmers and distributed free of cost along with watermelons and other vegetables in kit bags.

Earlier, the sales to markets both within and outside the State were not favourable because of the situation due to COVID-19.

According to R. Radjamany, Deputy Director of Horticulture, despite a good yield, farmers were staring at a loss due to the lockdown. “The fruits were getting decayed on the trees or the farmers who had despatched them to other States were not able to unload them due to the restrictions following the lockdown. The peak season for jackfruit is between April and June. The farmers had already suffered losses to the tune of ₹10 crore and this is when the Department stepped in to help them,” she said.

Following directions from Industries Minister M.C. Sampath, Agriculture Production Commissioner and Principal Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi and Collector V. Anbuselvan, the Department started the process of mobilising the fruits from farmers from April 7.

The Department, with the help of sponsors, started buying each fruit at ₹50 on the first day. Field staff identified all jackfruit farmers who had cultivated the crop in Panruti and mobilised two tonnes of the fruit from them on an average. The price of the fruit slowly picked up and farmers started selling them at ₹80 to ₹125 over the next few days following huge demand.

Traders also mobilised the fruits from farmers and the fruit was distributed along with the vegetable kit bags to conservancy workers of Cuddalore Municipality and other front-line workers.

The district administration also issued as many as 85 vehicle passes to farmers to help them transport the yield within the State and outside. As many as 50 tonnes were distributed within Cuddalore district while another 600 tonnes of the fruit were sent to other districts and outside the State, she added.

The Department’s move has not only assured farmers of their cultivation cost but also of assured income during the lockdown.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 1:44:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/horticulture-department-comes-to-the-rescue-of-jackfruit-farmers-in-tamil-nadu/article31442524.ece

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