TIRUCHY: Increased availability of the widely cultivated banana variety -- poovan -- has brought down its price in the city markets, leaving farmers in losses. A bunch of banana was sold at Rs 60 - 70 per kg on Saturday.
Other varieties such as Neipoovan, nendran and Sevvalai too saw a slight dip in price. Owing to high harvest and transportation cost, the farmers decided not to cut the crop (poovan) from the trees.
They have sought the government's help to procure the crop at a high rate and promote its sale by including it in the noon meal scheme.
Speaking to TNIE, Deputy Director of Horticulture Vimala said that about 6,010 hectares of area in the district is used for cultivating banana varieties such as poovan, neypoovan, nendran and sevvalai.
"Of this, more than 40 per cent was poovan variety. Seasonal impact and increased arrival has caused dip in price in Tiruchy market," she added.
The fall in price has come as yet another blow for farmers who laid waste their banana crop, especially poovan variety, to Gaja cyclone last year.
The crop faced export drop of 70 to 80 per cent. Owing to this, they were forced to sell ripened bananas in the local market for the lesser price of just 7 to 13 per kg.
However, their luck at poovan variety this year too failed them. It is said that despite its off-season, the banana variety would usually have high market value.
"Gaja cyclone destroyed neypoovan variety last season, thus we started cultivating poovan as the stem is bit bigger than other banana trees. We spent almost 1.5 lakhs per acre and we are getting only Rs 60 per bunch approximately. Even the harvest and transportation charge is much higher. Hence, we have decided not to cut bananas from the trees," rued Vetrivel, a banana farmer from Lalgudi. He added that the crops can be left without harvesting for a month.
Another variety neypoovan too saw a drop in price by 50 per cent.
Speaking to TNIE, Puliyur Nagarajan, President of Tamil Manila Congress Farmers Wing said, "More than 2,000 farmers who had cultivated poovan variety are in dilemma as the market price has dropped from Rs 10 per Kg to Rs 3 per Kg.
To help farmers, the government should procure bananas at a high price and distribute it to students in their noon meal scheme. Also, by-products of banana should be added in savouries and served in all government programmes."
He pointed out that excess supply of poovan variety from Andra Pradesh caused lack of demand in Tiruchy markets.