Banana growers in Tiruchi and Karur districts have been hit hard by the crash in price of nendran variety banana over the past few days.
Farmers complain that the field price of nendran banana has crashed to ₹7-10 a kg from the usual ₹35-40 a kg. The variety is mainly purchased by traders from Kerala, who supply the fruit for making chips there.
Banana is a major crop grown in the Tiruchi-Karur belt and a large number of farmers raise the nendran variety depending on the Kerala market. According to rough estimates, farmers who have raised the crop in about 2,000 acres in the belt could be affected by the price crash.
“There are no takers even for ₹7 a kg now. Consequently, the fruits have started ripening,” said Puliyur A.Nagarajan, president,farmers wing of the Tamil Maanila Congress.
The price crash is attributed to heavy arrivals in Kerala from Thoothukudi. “Harvest in our region normally ends before April, well before the harvest season in Thoothukudi. But this year, due to Cyclone Gaja and delayed release of water from Mettur, the cultivation was late here and hence we have been affected,” Mr.Nagarajan said.
However, Mr. Nagarajan pointed out the price fluctuations remained a serious concern for banana growers and urged the government to fix the minimum support price for bananas. He also suggests that the government supply a banana each to children under the noon meal scheme by procuring the fruit from farmers. Besides, the government should push for value addition in banana by promoting cottage units to make chips or banana powder, he demanded.