Ginger, pepper prices plunge; Farmers in crisis
Meenangadi (Wayanad): The farmers in Kerala are going through a tough time due to price drop of cash crops. Attack of diseases affected the price of ginger and issues in import caused a fall in the price of pepper and rubber. Coffee price remained stable for a few months.
As production was very low, high price was expected for ginger. The newly harvested ginger is mostly unripe and affected by disease. When this is taken to distant places, a large portion of ginger turns useless. With this, the price has dropped by 25 percent.
At present, ginger price is Rs 1600-1800 for a quintal in Wayanad and Rs 2000 in Karnataka. Earlier, the price of ginger was Rs 7000 in Wayanad and above Rs 8000 in Karnataka. The state depends on the ginger cultivated in Karnataka mostly. Though pest menace is under control, shortage of labourers and wage hike adversely affected ginger cultivation.
Pepper cultivation is having a hard time due to diseases like quick wilt. The sudden price drop also has discouraged the farmers from continuing cultivation. The import policy is known to be one of the reasons for the price fall. With this, the farmers are compelled to sell the stock for low price.
The merchants opined that the unregulated import from Vietnam and Indonesia is the major challenge in the market. Pepper price was Rs 32,500 for a quintal a few days ago and this has fallen to Rs 30,000 on Saturday. In 2016, the price of pepper was Rs 45,000 per quintal and it was Rs 70,000 in 2017. Rubber price also witnessed a decline the same way, said the farmers.