Agri Business

Coronavirus, a thorn in the side for Kerala pineapple growers

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on March 18, 2020 Published on March 18, 2020

Price rise pulled down by subdued demand from North India

The euphoria over a rising trend in pineapple prices has started waning, with coronavirus dampening the prospects of growers on account of a subdued upcountry demand.

It is peak period in North India, especially after the winter season and setting in of summer, but the virus scare has brought down pineapple prices to a bare minimum. The rates are now hovering in the range of ₹20 a kg for A grade, GI-tagged Vazhakulam pineapple as against ₹30 per kg in January this year.

Seeking moratorium

Baby John, president, Pineapple Growers Association Keralam, told BusinessLine that there had been good price realisation till March 5, but prices started eroding, especially when APMC markets were about to close down as part of discouraging people from public gatherings. This has affected the fruit movement, which was down by 50 per cent from 1,000 tonnes per day, he said.

According to John, Delhi and Maharashtra are considered to be the prime markets for pineapple and the main season is expected to start from April, catering to the Ramadan demand. Delhi is a good market for special grade pineapple while Maharashtra is the largest market for other grades.

The virus outbreak across the country has shattered farmers’ expectations of good returns from the surging prices witnessed since the new year.

However, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu markets, where the coronavirus still has not had any significant impact, hold out some hope. “But we are more cautious in the wake of the spread of the virus to more regions”, added John.

The emerging situation has forced farmers to seek a one-year moratorium from the State Government on their existing agriculture loans, considering the difficulties in repayments due to falling income.

John said the production cost of pineapple has gone up at ₹20 per kg, which included the cost of planting material, lease rent, land preparation, etc. Moreover, the government’s decision to decontrol urea prices would seriously affect growers as it is the main manure for pineapple farming.

According to him, pineapple farming started recouping since January after being hit badly for two consecutive years, in the aftermath of floods, the glut in the market and other climatic conditions. When prices started moving up, they had brought some hope of a stable return from the harvest, for the farming community.

Published on March 18, 2020

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.