INDIA: Farmers in despair as pineapple prices dip


by K.A. Martin, The Hindu

 

Owners of small pineapple holdings in the State face the prospect of being priced out of business because of a spell of price-fall that has seen the price of ripe fruit plunging from Rs. 47 (USD 0.75)  a kg in late June to Rs. 13 (USD 0.20) a kg on Monday in the Vazhakkulam wholesale market.

 

 

This is unprecedented and farmers may have lost between Rs. 100 crore (USD 1.6 millionj) and Rs. 120 crore (USD 1.92 million) over the past six months on account of the price-fall, said Baby John, a pineapple farmer based in Moovattupuzha.

 

There has not been such a long spell of fall in prices, he said and pointed out that small farmers would bear the brunt of the situation as they would now have to scrap the bottom to pay back loans as the financial year comes to an end. The president of the Pineapple Farmers’ Association Jose Kalappura blames the current bad spell for pineapple farmers to the rigorous cold condition that has gripped North India. The cold condition has depressed the demand and hence, the price.

 

He also said that a flood of oranges this season saw prices dip to very low levels and demand for pineapple has been affected by the market situation.

 

Mr. Kalappura said that good prices during the previous seasons had encouraged farmers to take up extensive cultivation and a significantly good crop this season had added to the woes of the farmers.

 

Mr. Joseph said that nearly two lakh tonnes of fruits hit the market over the past six months and farmers may have lost about Rs. 6 (USD 0.10) per kg. Unless pineapple fetches Rs 20 (USd 0.32) a kg during the dry season, crop operations would not reach the breakeven levels. During the rains, cultivating pineapple is less expensive, he said.

 

Though the Nadukkara agro processing company had promised to procure pineapple at Rs. 17 (USD. 0.27) a kg, the procurement process has not been kicked off in right earnest. This has left the farmers in the lurch, he said.

 

Source: The Hindu




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