Sharp fall in price hits plantain farmers in Wayanad

The huge arrival of the produce from Karnataka and closure of markets in various parts of the State following COVID-19 restrictions are the major reasons for fall in price of the produce, trading sources said.

A slump in the market price of the “nendran” variety of plantain during the Onam season has created a crisis for farmers in Wayanad district.

The spot price of the first grade ‘nendran’ variety was ₹21 a kg on Thursday as against ₹38 a kg during the corresponding period last year.

The huge arrival of the produce from Karnataka and closure of markets in various parts of the State following COVID-19 restrictions are the major reasons for fall in price of the produce, trading sources said.

Moreover, summer rain and heavy winds destroyed nearly 30% of plants in many parts of the district, leaving hundreds of farmers with poor quality produce, the demand for which was less. There was no enquiry for the produce from units making banana chips and vendors in the neighbouring districts owing to the COVID related restrictions.

Hence, a majority part of the produce was selling as a vegetable item in the markets and this led to a fall in price, they said.

Usually, farmers in the district plant the ‘nendran’ variety of plantain targeting to harvest during the Onam season as they get remunerative price for it. But this year, the multiple factors dashed the hopes of the farming community, A.K. Kunhikrishnan, a farmer at Meeanangadi said.

The price of second grade plantain in the market was ₹15 a kg, but many traders were refusing to buy it, Mr. Kunhikrishnan said. A farmer has to spend a minimum of ₹180 to a plantain including rent of land but, he would get nearly ₹140 to ₹150 after the harvest now, he said.

Tessy Jacob, Assistant Agriculture director, Wayanad, said those farmers who had registered under Minimum Support price scheme of the State government and insured their crop would get ₹24 a kg as MSP, if they sold their produce through the 14 shops identified by the Department for the purpose. As many as 13 shops were put up by the VFPCK and one shop by Horticorp for the purpose, she said.

But P. Paulson, a marginal farmer in Nenmeni grama panchayat said he had sold 7,083kg of ‘Nendran, variety of plantain to the Horticorp at the MSP nine month ago but he was yet to get to any remuneration for it. The condition of many farmers in the grama panchayat not different, he said.

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