Why farmers in Maharashtra are making fruit cakes
Popularising healthy eating will lift prices of farmers’ produce as well
Krishnat Patil from Kagal in Kolhapur district celebrated his son’s birthday in a different manner, with a different message. He and his family prepared a cake using watermelon, pineapple, grapes and orange instead of ordering a cake from a bakery. The message was loud and clear — farmers should make their own cake and also market it.
Farmers, especially fruit growers, are setting a trend, what they call ‘a movement’ to popularise birthday cakes made up of layers of fresh watermelon, papaya and musk melon, and decorated with cream, strawberries, grapes and mango slices.
Cultivating a taste for novelty
“Fruit growers have suffered heavily in recent times due to lockdown and now traders are purchasing the produce at low rates saying there would be another series of lockdowns. Farmers are getting the lowest price for the produce and hence some farmers have started this trend of fruit cake. It is catching up on social media and farmers are getting a good response” says agriculture analyst Deepak Chavan.
Farmer Haribhau Mahajan from Nashik insists that not just birthdays but all occasions must be celebrated in this way. He gifted a fruit cake to Sonali and Sagar Wadnerkar to celebrate their marriage anniversary and the couple was delighted to mark the occasion in a novel, and healthy, manner.
‘Hoy Amhi Shetkari’ organisation has announced a fruit cake competition with the condition that the participants must create a cake using fruits and vegetables available in their own localities.
Farmers are projecting fruit cakes as a healthy option to baked cakes and are campaigning for their new product. The WHO panel on diet, nutrition and prevention of chronic diseases has recommended a daily intake of at least 400 grams (or five daily servings with an average serving size of 80 gm) of fruits and vegetables, excluding potatoes, cassava and other starchy tubers, to prevent diet-related chronic diseases and micronutrient deficiencies.
“The lockdown has really hit hard and farmers will have to find new ways to sell their products using new marketing systems. Farmers will have to take control in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, only then can farming be profitable,” says farmer Sanjay Chavan.