KOCHI: Known for its pleasant aroma, sweetness and flavour, the Kerala pineapple is in high demand across the country and West Asia. While the farming sector in Kerala has been in deep despair due to falling prices, high production cost and labour shortage, pineapple farming has helped farmers in Central Kerala to earn a steady income.
The Kerala pineapple reaches major markets including Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Rajasthan and Hyderabad. However, climatic changes, a decline in crop yield and restrictions on the sale of fertilisers are causing concern among the farmers.
Meanwhile, the All Kerala Pineapple Farmers Association, which relies on trucks for transportation of the fruit to other states, has started sending pineapple consignments to Delhi by rail which has helped reduce wastage. While a truck takes five days to reach Delhi, the trains reduce the transportation time to 50 hours. This helps ensure supply of fresh fruits to the market.
“We send 1,200 tonnes of pineapple to Delhi market per day and the wastage is 1,000 kg to 3,000 kg per truck. On November 24, we sent the first consignment of 2.5 tonnes of Vazhakulam pineapple to Delhi by Nizamuddin Express, and the result was encouraging.
The traders were happy as the fruit was fresh and wastage was low. We are planning to sent one consignment per week and the Indian Railways has assured us to reduce the parcel charges if we start sending bigger consignments regularly,” said association president James George.