Bhawanipatna: In absence of adequate marketing facilities, pineapple farmers from Kalahandi district are being compelled to resort to distress sale to traders outside the district and state.
Pineapple is cultivated mostly by the tribal farmers here. That said, Kalahandi horticulture department officials are least concerned to the issues being faced by local pineapple farmers, several farmers here alleged.
Hundreds of tribal farmers, on Niyamgiri hills bordering Kalahandi and Rayagada districts, had cultivated pineapple despite COVID-19 restrictions in the district. The harvest had also been good this year. While the local farmers were hopeful of a good earning from sales, that dream remains a farfetched reality.
Local farmers failed to sale their produce owing to improper road connectivity and lack of marketing facilities, they alleged.
“Taking advantage of the simplicity of the tribal farmers, the traders buy a pineapple for just Rs 5 to Rs 7 each; as against this, the traders of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh sale it for Rs 50 to Rs 70. Even to sale pineapple in local markets, we have to walk a distance of about 15 to 20 kilometre from Niyamgiri hill,” a farmer lamented.
Besides, the farmers here face distress sale as there is no food processing and food preservation unit in this region. There are over 20 tribal villages around Niyamgiri hill. Usually, the local farmers cultivate crops like mango, banana, orange, lemon, turmeric, ginger, jackfruit, tamarind, black pepper and ragi.
During the months of May and June farmers here cultivate pineapple. The climatic condition of Kalahandi district is conducive for pineapple cultivation. Local tribal farmers sale their pineapple in Chatikana, Bissamkatak, Muniguda, Ambadola markets in Rayagada district and Lanjigarh, Biswanathpur, Bhawanipatna markets in Kalahandi district respectively.
Meanwhile, the distress sale to Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh traders discourages the poor farmers here.