Agriculture World

Government Offering Support Price to Pineapple Farmers of This State

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo
pineapple

State government of Kerala is providing a support price to farmers after sharp fall in pineapple prices. VS Sunil Kumar, State Agriculture Minister has asked Horticorp to take steps for pineapple procurement, for which the rates are yet to be finalized.

Farmers, however maintained that rather than a price support, the government must think of measures to consume the surplus production from the market by channelising it to processing industries. The collection of the extra stock by the industry will pave the way for a price hike. Traders have alleged that the payments to farmers for the pineapple procured in last January is still remaining.

Growers said prices of GI-tagged Vazhakkulam pineapple has come down to Rs. 16-17 / kg for special A grade against Rs. 48 in 2018. The increase in production following abundant rainfall is said to be the reason for the southward movement of prices.

Executive Director of Vazhakkulam Pineapple Growers and Processors Pvt Ltd, Baby John said that the beginning of pineapple farming in huge rubber plantations owned by corporate companies is also a contributing factor for the increase in production. In addition, the decline in rubber rates also prompted growers to shift from rubber to pineapple cultivation.

Traders blame lack of marketing strategies combined with the higher output for the drop in prices. They said, a modern pineapple market must  be established at Vazhakkulam to avoid the handling loss of more than 20% at present.

pineapples

On the other hand experts said that the State government’s approval for wine production is a good move. Excess crop can be used effectively for producing alcohol & vinegar, besides other food products. They told that pineapple procurement by processing firms at present is very low & they can take advantage of the price fall to stock more in huge quantities, convert it into pulp to enable storage & production of diversified food products subsequently.

Baby John also said that farmers’ association is in the process of setting up a consortium to supply the fruit for processing firms by avoiding middlemen & traders. Benefit of this is that processors will get the fruit at an assured rate and guaranteed price for growers as well. The delivery will be guaranteed, provided purchase & payments are done on time.

At present, pineapple production stands at around 1,000 tonnes per day against 1,500 tonnes in peak season. Kerala produces around 4 lakh tonnes on around 40,000 acres & most of the produce goes into the fresh fruit segment, where the demand is 60 to 70 tonnes / day.

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