Sunday, August 8, 2010

A sour ginger harvest

KALPETTA: A rot disease afflicting rhizomes and the sharp decline in prices of raw ginger due to heavy rain have cut into the prospects of ginger farmers in Wayanad, one of the major ginger-growing regions in the State.

Most of the ginger plantations, especially in the low-lying areas of the district, are under the threat of rhizome rot, a fungal disease. The spot price of new ginger a bag (60 kg) was Rs.1,100 at the Meenangadi market on Thursday against Rs.1,500 a week ago and the price of �monsooned (old) ginger was Rs.3,000 against Rs.3,500.

�I planted ginger in one acre of leased land at a rent of Rs.40,000 a year around four months back. But I am forced to take a premature harvest due to the fungal disease, locally called Mahali, Mathew Parambil, a small scale farmer at Panamaram said. �When I purchased ginger seeds five months back, I paid Rs.3,500 a bag,� he added.

He had spent more than Rs.1.3 lakh for the cultivation so far and was not sure whether he could recoup even a fraction of his investment. �The condition of many ginger farmers is no different,� he said.

Benny of Krishnagiri, a ginger merchant, said the tender ginger crop in the flooded areas would begin to rot in two days and the farmers in these areas would be forced to take a premature harvest

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