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Why Custard Apple Farmers in Andhra Pradesh Facing Losses Despite Good Yield?

The Covid19 pandemic has badly affected custard apple producers at the Srikakulam agency in Andhra Pradesh. Custard apple growers had high yields this year, but faced significant losses due to lack of minimum support prices (MSP). It is important to mention that custard apple is one of the profitable horticulture crops for the tribals at Srikakulam Agency.

Ayushi Raina
Custard Apple
Custard Apple

The Covid19 pandemic has badly affected custard apple producers at the Srikakulam agency in Andhra Pradesh. Custard apple  growers had high yields this year, but faced significant losses due to lack of minimum support prices (MSP).  It is important to mention that custard apple is one of the profitable horticulture crops for the tribals at Srikakulam Agency.

Tribal farmers in Seethampeta Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) also cultivated custard apples in more than 6,000 acres.

Tribal farmers in Seethampeta, Bhamini, Kotturu, Palakonda, Veeraghattam, Mandasa & Meliyaputti mandals have been growing custard apple as separate & intercrop as podu traditional cultivation in the hilly region.

Demand for Seethampheta custard is high in the northern Andhra and southern districts of Odisha. This year, tribal farmers have a reason to rejoice as the yield is great. But, traders are not buying fruits from the tribal farmers due to Covid-19.  

Hence, farmers sell perishable fruits to local traders and intermediaries at a cheap price. Since the government does not set a minimum supporting price  for custard apples, traders and middlemen are sourcing the crop at a lower price. In the Agency, local traders are buying custard apples for Rs.20 per Kg. 

Though, in the plain areas they were selling the same for Rs.100. Farmers have no choice but to sell them at lower price due to their financial or economic problems. The lack of cold storage in ITDA restrictions is another reason for the low price of the crop. Local traders and Intermediaries are using this situation to exploit the farmers.  As announced for pineapple, tribal farmers are asking ITDA officials to publish the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for custard apples. 

Savara Ramarao from Seethampeta mandal said, “ITDA officials did not focus on custard apples. Hence, the farmers have been depending on local traders, who have been purchasing custard apples for Rs 20/kg in the Agency.

But, they are selling the same for Rs. 100 in the plain areas. As August to October are the peak months for custard apples, the officials must focus on the farmer’s loss, provide MSP & take action to set up a cold storage at Seethampeta ITDA limits.”

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