1. Agriculture World

Pineapple Growers of Kerala are Deserting their Harvest-Ready Crops

Shipra Singh
Shipra Singh
Pineapple plant

A gloomy situation has enveloped among the pineapple growers of Kerala. The second Covid-19 wave has brought in new worries for these growers. Due to curbs and possible lockdowns, markets are deserted, prices have plummeted, and customers are locked in homes. So, who will buy the pineapples?  

Exactly a month ago, the same growers were happy. Prices of pineapples were on a rise. However, this happiness was short-lived. Farmgate prices of all varieties have reduced to Rs. 19 per kg after they soared to Rs. 40.  

Even Ramadan couldn't save the pineapple  

The GI-tagged Vazhakkulam pineapple of Kerala is the most popular variety during Ramadan. Vazhakkulam harbors the largest pineapple market in Asia.  

Do you know pineapple is a vital part of Ramadan fasting?  

Yet, despite this festival, pineapple growers have nothing to rejoice. They are forced to leave the fruit in the plant. Yes, they are not plucking pineapples this season!  

The reason being there are no takers of this fruit at present due to curb in market movements, restrictions in customer movements, and the fear of Covid infections. 

Huge loss   

The President of Pineapple Growers Association Kerala, Baby John, has estimated a staggering loss of Rs. 100 crore during the festival season alone due to movement restrictions.  

Arrivals are witnessing a sheer drop to an average of 80 loads per day. This is very low as compared to the peak 150-200 loads per day on normal days.  

Shortage of labor  

Labor shortage has become acute due to heavy migration of workers to their homes fearing complete lockdowns in the days to come. At present, less than 30% workers are available. Growers are hiring workers, but due to high demand and low supply (of workers), the labor wages have shot to Rs. 1200 per day from Rs. 750 to Rs. 800 per day. This has further increased the cost of production of growers.  

Pineapple is a fruit packed with nutrition. Health benefits of pineapple are many. However, today, pineapple, itself, is in a crisis situation.  

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