Agartala (Tripura), June 9 (ANI
): Tripura's pineapple farmers are facing double trouble this year as the production and demand is less because of the smaller size of the fruit.
Farmers complained that a poor monsoon during the fruit's flowering season has also contributed to poor sales.
Farmers are also being deprived of a good price because markets in neighbouring Bangladesh are closed.
"At present, many are shifting from pineapple cultivation as the demand is reducing and the market price is also reducing as pineapples are not going to Bangladesh. Many have even shifted to rubber cultivation but we are continuing with pineapple. If the government helps us then we hope the orchard will further develop with better production. Number of pineapple production is less as rainfall has decreased and after paying the labrourers it is not very profitable," said Dulal Deb, a forty year experience pineapple grower.
He complained that the state government is not attentive towards improving the horticultural crop besides making arrangement for allowing the pineapple farmers to sell their products in the border hats with Bangladesh to get better returns and due to which farmers are also losing interest in pineapple.
"The government should come forward to preserve the pineapples of which Tripura boast but its production is gradually diminishing as the government is not caring for it," he added.
According to him, if farmers could arrange irrigation in their orchard, then they would not depend on nature for water and their production would be better and profitable but it is impossible on their part without government's help.
While for some farmers there is huge expense in maintaining pineapple orchards which require proper irrigation and good number of laborers almost throughout the year. But at present growing the crowned queen of the fruit is not very encouraging and hence is converting their orchards into rubber plantations.
Another orchard owner Rafik Mia said, "This year the production has been less compared to last year and the price is between Rs 12 to Rs 10... Along with pineapple I have also started rubber cultivation because it is profitable. I have started separate rubber cultivation but many others stopped pineapple and shifter to rubber".
In Tripura, pineapple is one of the major fruit crop in terms of area and as per the statistics the state prodces around 45000 metric tons pineapples, out of which Kew is contributing lion shares in production followed by the Queen variety.
Productivity of pineapple per hectare in Tripura is 18.73 tonnes, which is higher than the national average of 15.80 tonnes but farers apprehend with the present scenario they will not be able to continue to bear the loss it if continues in such manner.
Fruit vendors also complained that as due to scanty rainfall the harvest of pineapple is less and size of the fruit is small so the price is more but again due to this less number of people could effort to get the taste of this sweet fruit.
Sukumar Sil, a businessman said, "I have been selling pineapples from this orchard for the last 25 years but this time the size of the fruits are little smaller but the market price is very less. I have my shop in Maharajganja Bazar and somehow my business is going on and it is not in very good as the market is fluctuating but we hope business will soon improve."
While another vendor Sanjib Saha said: "This year we have send around 10,000 pineapples outside and price of each piece at present is Rs 10 because due to rain the price has slashed. I rail connectivity starts then produces can be sent outside which will fetch better price."
They moreover added that another reason behind the production of pineapple is because many farmers are now shifting from pineapple to rubber which is more profitable as it is gradually becoming very tough for them to continue producing pineapple in their orchard.
But the silver lining for the pineapple farmers is the improving broad-gauge rail connectivity and opening of India-Bangladesh border haats. The pineapple growers are hopeful to sell their products outside the state in the coming days and get better returns as there is a huge market of the fruit. (ANI