Idukki (Kerala) [India], April 19 (ANI): Horticorp, the government body has started procuring passion fruits from farmers in Munnar after authorities came to know about the plight of many small scale farmers during the lockdown.
The passion fruit growers in the Munnar Silent Valley estate here were unable to sell their produce due to the lockdown and had sought government's support to sell 3000 kg passion fruits they had harvested.
"Horticorp has started procuring passion fruit after we came to know that they are in distress as they are unable to sell the produce. District sub-collector and Horticorp MD intervened. We have started procuring one tonne, 600 kg is now being transported for sales to various districts in the state, said Jiji, assistant manager, Horticorp.
Notably, Horticorp collects fresh and non-toxic vegetables from the farmers and sells them to customers at reasonable prices.
"We are happy that Horticorp has started procuring our produce. I had destroyed 60 boxes of passion fruits after they decayed. Government procuring our produce directly is a huge relief for all the passion fruit growers here,' said a farmer.
The season starts in October and ends in mid-summer. Most fruits are harvested in March and April. As a result of the lack of transport facilities and stringent restrictions on freight traffic, the farmers have been hit by COVID-19.
The farmers were forced to destroy cartons of passion fruits they harvested after they could not get any sellers to due to the lockdown restrictions.
The farmers said that fruits valued lakhs of rupees are usually exported to foreign countries and also sold outside Kerala. But due to lock down restrictions those who procure the passion fruits are unable to reach Munnar and fruits in large numbers have started to decay.
Earlier Ramar, a farmer told ANI: "Three thousand kilos of fruit are harvested. We need special consideration from the government to sell large quantities of fruits. The ripe fruit can be stored only up to ten to twenty days in the cold weather. " (ANI)