Onam cultivation likely to be hit

July 20, 2018 12:00 am | Updated 04:08 am IST - KOCHI

About 295 hectares of vegetable, banana cultivation lost

Local vegetable production for the Onam season is likely to be affected by the present bout of rain affecting the cultivation cycle.

M.P. Vijayan of Palliyakkal Service Cooperative Bank, which encourages local farmers to take up vegetable farming with the Onam market in view, said production could be down 20 to 25% because of incessant rain for about a week.

The Agriculture Department had initially estimated that about 295 hectares of vegetable and banana cultivation had been lost in the rain. Bulk of the affected area is used for banana cultivation.

Mr. Vijayan said the farmers under the bank’s initiative had taken up cultivation of vegetables and bananas in about 65 acres. However, the rains had affected the cultivation. The rain also threatened an outbreak of fungal diseases, he said. The Palliyakkal bank has been encouraging integrated farming. Pokkali rice farming along with fish and shrimp in the Ezhikkara area has flourished with the initiative.

Meanwhile, pineapple farmers in Vazhakkulam and its neighbourhood said the unprecedented rain had hit preparations for the coming season and the harvest of the fruit had been affected. Baby John, a farmer in Vazhakkulam, said farmers generally controlled their planting operations to taper down production during the rainy season as there was slackness in demand during the monsoon months.

However, he said the week-long rain had hit preparations for the next season. He expressed apprehensions about increased incidence of pest attacks and fungal diseases in the plantations. The slowing down of production has seen the price ruling at Rs. 27 for the best quality raw fruit and Rs. 34 for the ripe fruit. The price was remunerative for the farmers, he said. The farmers have also expressed apprehensions about a lorry strike that began on Thursday. Mr. John said lorries were not available on Thursday to transport the fruit to upcountry destinations.

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