Guwahati: The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent measures put in place to control its spread have affected all sectors of the economy; the hurdles caused to the horticulture sector in Nagaland has negatively affected the state's pineapple farmers who are said to incurring losses in the lakhs.
Dr R Elithung Lotha, Joint Director & Mission Director (MIDH) at the Directorate of Horticulture in Nagaland informed that only 193 metric tons of pineapples were sold to Assam and 195 metric tons within the state till August 13 -- a far lesser number than the usual sales of the product.
A roadside pineapple vendor in Dimapur, Ali, told media persons that there are few buyers within the town as people are hardly coming out of their homes. He speculated that with businesses shut across the state, people might not have money to spend and people are also hesitant to venture out of their homes.
Another roadside pineapple vendor, Hatneilang Thadou, blamed decreased earnings on a lesser number of travellers on the highways.
A pineapple farmer, Lethang Misao, from Molvum village of Nagaland said that people in his village used to cultivate just paddy in their fields during the early 1970s.
However, the horticulture department of Nagaland suggested that they should plant pineapples and distributed the saplings to locals. Today, there are more than 500 pineapple farmers in Molvum alone.
"I have planted more than 1 lakh pineapples in my farm, and could have easily sold it in one season. The price of a pineapple varies from Rs 15- 25 in wholesale," he said.
Misao further said that the main buyers are from the neighboring state of Assam; however, with the inter-state borders being sealed, sales in the neighbouring state have dwindled.
Organic pineapple is considered one of the signature crops of Nagaland and hundreds of farmers in the Northeast Indian state earn their living by growing pineapples.Also Read: Arunachal's Rajiv Gandhi University ranks second in national ranking of varsities