Upset over economic loss, C’garh farmer destroys papaya, banana crops

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An anguished Chhattisgarh farmer razed his standing crop of papaya and banana, spread over 50 acres, after failing to get adequate market price due to conditions created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The farmland, owned by Anuj Agrawal, is situated in village Chakravay, around 50 km from Raipur. He himself used a tractor to raze the tonnes of fruits.

A despondent Agrawal said: “Generally the plantation is done in May, then the season starts from December and continues till April. The market picked up slowly but fell a week before Holi. After Holi came to the lockdown, due to which fruit traders from other states did not come to buy the produce.

“The farmland had 25 acres of papaya and 25 acres of banana plantation. All sales were dependent on local traders and middlemen,” he said.

Agrawal said that horticulture farming of this level costs around Rs 1 lakh-1.25 lakh investment. The per-kilogram of input cost is around Rs 5-6 but the local traders are procuring it at Rs 2-2.50 per kg. This does not even recover the labour cost of plucking the fruits, he said.

Agrawal underlined that his decision to destroy the crops was not an easy one.

“We had cared for the farm like a child. I have to move on and have to prepare the land for the next crop. So, with a heavy heart, I had to destroy it by ploughing the field,” he said.

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