Price remains high but nutmeg farmers in crisis due to low yield
Aloor (Thrissur): The main harvest season of the spice crop nutmeg will end by July. Though it fetches high price, the considerable decline in production this year has affected the farmers. Normally, upto 1000-2000 fruits can be harvested from one tree whereas only one tenth of the same could be collected this time. There are over 1000 nutmeg farmers in Aloor panchayat alone.
Nutmeg trees bloom during October and November before winter. The incessant rain during the time affected the plants and the flowers perished. Also heavy rain caused waterlogging in flowerbed. Thus production was too low, said Kallettumkara native Shajan, a nutmeg farmer.
The mace of nutmeg is priced Rs 1500 per kilogram for top quality and Rs 1000 for normal ones. Dry seeds cost Rs 400 and less dry seeds are priced at Rs 200. Last year, the mace cost Rs 1700 and the seed fetches Rs 475. Plant diseases and fungal diseases resulted in low production this time.
'There are 200 nutmeg trees. Around Rs 1 lakh is spent for fertilizer and farm works. But yield decreased from 1500 kilograms to 300 kilograms,' said Kallettumkara Nutmeg Farmers Cluster president Biju Kannamkunni.
Another farmer Annie Joseph from Thanippara opined that nutmeg yield started falling after the flood havoc. Also they do not get any insurance coverage for price fall.