The Kerala High Court has directed Central and State governments, the Productivity Council of India and banks to consider the grievance of pineapple growers who are seeking a comprehensive relief package for the Covid-stricken sector.
The petitioners All Kerala Pineapple Farmers Association asked the court to direct the authorities to write off loans of creditors who have been repaying regularly till 2018, grant interest-free loans for future farming till things are improved; announce a minimum support price of ₹25 for pineapple and immediately revive the manufacturing units to produce various value-added products using pineapple.
James George, the association's president, said the loan exposure in the region amounts up to ₹450 crore and not a single farmer could service his credit in the near future.
Around 540,000 tonnes of the fruit are produced in Kerala every year from nearly 18,000 hectares are under pineapple cultivation. For the last 8-10 years, the average turnover out of this sector was ₹12.5 billion per year. More than 5,000 farmers are there in the sector whose cost of production would be around ₹625,000 per hectare.
[ ₹100 = €1.20 ]