Fresh hope: Farmers in hilly areas of Kerala bet on fruit cultivation

Representative Image / File Photo: Pankaj Nangia, AP

Kodenchery: Many farmers in hilly areas of Kerala have found solace in fruit farming, exasperated by skyrocketing operational expenses for cash crops.

Even rubber cultivators have switched to fruit farming. While those who are first into agriculture also seem interested in fruit cultivation as the activities related are not very tiring and monotonous.

The farmers are mainly into cultivation of mango and papaya varieties. Apart from this, some are into farming of rambutan, mangosteen, butter fruit and dragon fruit. A few experiment cultivation of fruits like god's crown, santol, pulasan, jabuticaba, durian and sweet-flavoured mombin.

Interestingly, these fruits have demand in both domestic and international markets. Even before the harvest season, some cultivators get takers.

Meanwhile, the farmers in the spectrum who find livelihood from fruit cultivation urge that the government should intervene to curb middlemen. They demand construction of cold storage for the warehousing of the fruits that are harvested annually. According to them, soil study and organic farming certification process should be ramped up at the panchayat level.

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