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AGARTALA: Production and demand this is year which is going down has put pineapple farmers in Tripura in state of disarray.
Farmers complained that a poor monsoon during the fruit's flowering season has also contributed to poor sales, adding to that they also being deprived of a good price because markets in neighbouring Bangladesh are closed.
"At present, many are shifting from pineapple cultivation as the demand is reducing and the market price is also reducing as pineapples are not going to Bangladesh. Many have even shifted to rubber cultivation but we are continuing with pineapple. If the government helps us then we hope the orchard will further develop with better production. Number of pineapple production is less as rainfall has decreased and after paying the labourers it is not very profitable," said Dulal Deb, a forty year experience pineapple grower.
He complained that the state government is not attentive towards improving the horticultural crop besides making arrangement for allowing the pineapple farmers to sell their products in the border hats with Bangladesh to get better returns and due to which farmers are also losing interest in pineapple.
"The government should come forward to preserve the pineapples of which Tripura boast but its production is gradually diminishing as the government is not caring for it," he added.
Another orchard owner Rafik Mia while speaking to newsmen said, "This year the production has been less compared to last year and the price is between Rs 12 to Rs 10… Along with pineapple I have also started rubber cultivation because it is profitable. I have started separate rubber cultivation but many others stopped pineapple and shifted to rubber".
In Tripura, pineapple is one of the major fruit crop in terms of area and as per the statistics the state produces around 45000 metric tons pineapples, out of which Kew is contributing lion shares in production followed by the Queen variety.
Productivity of pineapple per hectare in Tripura is 18.73 tonnes, which is higher than the national average of 15.80 tonnes but farers apprehend with the present scenario they will not be able to continue to bear the loss it if continues in such manner.
Sukumar Sil, a businessman said, "I have been selling pineapples from this orchard for the last 25 years but this time the size of the fruits are little smaller but the market price is very less. I have my shop in Maharajganja Bazar and somehow my business is going on and it is not in very good as the market is fluctuating but we hope business will soon improve."
But the silver lining for the pineapple farmers is the improving broad-gauge rail connectivity and opening of India-Bangladesh border haats. The pineapple growers are hopeful to sell their products outside the state in the coming days and get better returns as there is a huge market of the fruit.
Featured image(courtesy): www.tripurainfoway.com