Rajahmundry: Coronavirus lockdown has spelled doom for the banana farmers with crop rotting in the orchards and prices crashing in East and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh.

The biggest banana market at Ravulapalem in East Godavari district has been shut down and the farmers are neither able to store nor sell their produce.

Prices of the crop have crashed by more than 200 percent with each tonne of banana costing Rs 8000 against Rs 16000 just a month

East and West Godavari districts in Andhra Pradesh are known for popular banana varieties including Karpura Chakkerakeli, Amruthapani, Tella Chakkerakeli, red banana, Amruthapani (Budidalu), Budida Chakkerakeli, Sugandhalu (Karpura), Karpuravali (Budida Arti) and few others.

“We harvested more than two tonnes of bananas a couple of days ago. But, due to lockdown, we are not getting good prices for our produce. We sold a tonne at just Rs 5,000 against Rs 15000,” said B Sateesh, a banana farmer in East Godavari district.

Normally, each acre of banana farm fetches Rs 2.5 lakh to a farmer. But, the lockdown has hit farmers hard with no one ready to buy produce given the lockdown. “If the situation continues, we will incur huge losses,” said K Prasad, another banana farmer.

For the last few years, banana production has increased considerably after farmers adopted modern farming technology and other innovative practices.

Banana export from Godavari districts has also been hit due to the lockdown. “Farmers are waiting for buyers”, said an official of the Horticulture Department in East Godavari district.

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