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TN banana farmers hit by pandemic, incessant rains

 
Chennai, Nov 15 (IANS) The Banana farmers of Tamil Nadu are facing tough times after their cultivation was hit by heavy rains and the Covid pandemic.

Tamil Nadu Banana Growers Federation state secretary, A.G. Ajeethan told IANS, "Excessive rains have led to the collapse of the market and our retail supply is hit. The popular varieties of Poovan and Cavendish fruits are cultivated in the state in more than 1 lakh hectare but owing to the supply chain becoming stagnant, prices have come down drastically."

He said that twenty per cent of the sale depends on metropolitan cities and after the pandemic that led to the shutdown of the state, the incessant rains led to the supply chains being hit leading to the fall in prices of the banana varieties.

While 'Poovan' which is a popular variety of small bananas costing Rs 15 per kg in Chennai's Koyamebdu market, has now come down to Rs 7 per kg as the farmers have to dump the produce at the value they get following heavy rains as truck movement is affected in large numbers.

The banana farmers' leader, Ajeethan said that since the Covid-19 pandemic, the farmers have suffered heavy losses. He, however, said that the farmers could survive only after the state government wrote off the crop loans following the pandemic.

He said that nearly 30-35 per cent of the banana is lost even before the produce is taken to the market, leading to distress selling. The banana farmers have demanded from the government to introduce pack house system for the farmers to get a good price.

The Paramathy Velur market at Namakkal is the hub of banana sales in the country and traders from across the country reach here to sell. However incessant rains have led to the traders taking a back seat and the banana that was produced across the state was dumped in the market affecting the prices.

Subramanian, a banana farmer at Namakkal told IANS, "The farmers are stuck as our crop is dumped in the market and traders have not come forward to purchase. We had to sell our crop at throwaway prices and this has affected our earnings."

--IANS
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