The cascading effect of Cyclone Gaja and the crash in price banana has hit banana growers in the Cauvery-irrigated areas of the Thanjavur district as they have been forced to leave the banana bunches on the trees to ripe and rot as the price of the fruit oscillated between just ₹10-20 (€0.13-0.26) a bunch.
Normally, banana cultivation would be taken up in Cauvery irrigation areas during October every year. With this schedule, the trees would start yielding bunches by August or September subsequent year. Due to the cascading effect of the cyclone, which played havoc in the rain fed irrigation areas such as Marungulam, Pudupatti in the border of Thanjavur-Pudukottai district, the growers planted fresh saplings only in December 2018-January 2019.
This means that banana bunches in these areas have come for harvest by September-October 2019, the normal period for arrivals from the Cauvery-irrigated areas too. Hence, flooding of the markets by the ‘poovan’ variety has pulled down the price to around ₹10 - 20 per bunch, said P. Kamaraj of Thanjavur, a wholesale dealer in bananas.
“Hence, we preferred to leave the bunches ripe and rot on the trees itself as the sales proceed will only help meet the cutting cost”, claimed A. Baskar of Nadupadugai near Thiruvaiyaru, who had raised banana crop on about ten acres.