Unseasonal rains have led to a drop in demand for pineapples, leaving tons of fruit rotting in farmlands and causing a loss of over Rs 1 bln (€12 mln). According to Pineapple Growers Association state president Baby John, around 4,000 tons of pineapple are rotting in the farms as there is no demand.
There are more than 5,000 pineapple farmers in the state, cultivating the fruit on 45,000 acres of land. The Vazhakulam Pineapple Market ships around 1,200 tons of pineapple to markets outside the state. The annual production is 500,000 tons. However, two years of Covid have disturbed the market and devastated the sector pushing around 80 per cent of farmers into debt trap.
“There is a drop in demand in south Indian and local market due to rain. It would have been a great relief to the farmers if the Nadukkara Agro Processing Company Limited (NAPCL) procured some fruit. But the state government firm is refusing to support us. The procurement rate announced by the government is Rs 15 while the production cost is Rs 25. A farmer in Palakkad who cultivated pineapple in 18 acres of land suffered a loss of Rs 4 mln as he could not market the fruit due to lockdown,” said All Kerala Pineapple Farmers’ Association president James George.
[ Rs100 = €1.20 ]