Commodity News

Marayur Jaggery in Crisis Due to Shortage of Labour amidst Lockdown

Aiswarya R Nair
Aiswarya R Nair

Marayur, a village in Tamil Nadu is facing problems due to the shortage of skilled labour. Marayur is famous for its jaggery and has earned the Geographical Indication (GI) tag last year.

Over 600 ha of land in Marayur and Kanthallur villages cultivate sugar cane for producing Marayur jaggery in household units. The farmers have been depending on labourers from Tamil Nadu, but after the nationwide lockdown, the labourers have stopped coming.

Marayur Agriculture officer Priya Peter told The Hindu that the issue was being taken up with the authorities. However, in the present COVID-19 crisis, it is not advisable to seek labour from Tamil Nadu.

According to her, if the production of Marayur jaggery drops, there is a chance of the commodity arriving from Tamil Nadu that could be marketed as ‘Marayur jaggery’ though there is not much evidence to prove this.

Normally, the harvesting is done in rotation in the farms, and if one farm is harvested, the nearby farm is also ready for harvest. This ensures that there is jaggery production throughout the year in Marayur.

Once overgrown, the sugar canes will not yield juice required to make the jaggery. Dull red tissues develop on the canes and the juice gets diverted for flowering. This results in a drop in production, as is the situation now. From April onwards, the production per week has dropped from 14 tonnes to below four tonnes. The rains that began four days ago have done further damage.

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