Banana farmers in the district are facing a huge loss as prices for their goods nose-dived. Unable to find buyers, farmers have left banana bunches to ripen and rot on the trees. Agriculture department officials said, banana is cultivated on 9,500 acres in the district. As prices tumbled, farmers said they cannot afford to transport bananas to markets.
Many farmers chose to let the crop rot as harvesting bananas would not fetch returns. S. Murugan, a farmer in Kabisthalam, said traders in Kumbakonam and Tiruvaiyaru were advising farmers not to bring the produce to market.
“A bunch of banana which used to sell for Rs 300 does not fetch even `30 now,” he said. Sundaramurthy, a farmer who took 40 bunches of bananas to Tiruvaiyaru market in a rented vehicle had to bring back 20 of them as they went unsold and gave them to cattle.
Farmer P. Sukumar of Tirupoonthurthi said: “Bananas left on trees are being consumed by birds.” A farmer in Tirukkattupalli, said due to continuous rainfall in the area, there was abundant natural nitrogen which might have led to the early ripening of the fruit.
He added farmers earlier used to offset losses to an extent by selling banana leaves but due to winds, most of the leaves have been damaged. Agriculture department officials said the extent of damage has been communicated to the insurance company and compensation is expected.