Sweet pineapples, sour returns: AP farmers incur heavy losses due to low prices

Tribal farmers in the region have been cultivating the queen variety of pineapple in over 7,000 to 8,000 acres

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  31 July 2022 7:18 AM GMT
Sweet pineapples, sour returns: AP farmers incur heavy losses due to low prices

Srikakulam: The pineapple farmers of north Andhra Pradesh are facing a series of crises. Despite the good yield, they struggle to get the minimum price for their produce. The price has come down due to rains and a few other reasons, dashing their hopes. The pineapple farmers in Parvathiuram Manyam and Alluri Sitarama Raju districts have been incurring losses as the price has come down to Rs. 5-6 per fruit.

Parts of Seethampeta agency and Paderu agency in north Andhra Pradesh are known for pineapple cultivation. Tribal farmers in the region have been cultivating the queen variety of pineapple in over 7,000 to 8,000 acres. More than 6,000 farmers depend on pineapple cultivation. There is a huge demand for the queen variety in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Compared to the previous years, the pineapple yield is good, but farmers are not getting returns. "Local traders in small towns and cities are selling pineapple for Rs. 20 to 30 each in the retail markets but they are paying only us Rs. 5 to 6. We are forced to sell our crop at a lower price," said P. Raju Babu, a pineapple grower in the region.

Another farmer, Gowri S, said, "It is unfortunate that some traders and middlemen have been fixing the price of the fruit. We are selling the fruit at a lower price, which is not even sufficient for our labour charges. There are no cold storages in the tribal pockets to stock our crop until we get a good price. Citing that pineapple fruit is perishable, the traders have been looting us while the ITDA has failed to set up cold storages." The pineapple farmers said the Covid-19 pandemic hit their profits in the past two years. They hoped to recover the losses but the price has drastically come down, dashing their hopes.

Meanwhile, ITDA said it is assisting pineapple farmers in selling and exporting the fruit, supplying them to Rythu Bazaars, and procuring the fruits at good prices. However, the farmers are demanding cold storages and small-scale industries to manufacture fruit-related products. "We have been importing pineapples from Kerala for fruit juices as Kerala's fruits have more juice and are sweeter than the pineapples grown in our region," said Sagar Kumar, a fruit juice trader in Vizag city.

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