Ginger price in free fall, farmers in a spot

Pandemic, over production, and diseases attributed for low price

This is the season usually ginger farmers in Kerala and Karnataka get maximum price for their produce. Now, more than 50% of the farmers, especially those cultivating ginger rhizomes in Karnataka, are yet to harvest their crop owing to the sharp fall in the price of the produce.

Uncertainties in the market triggered by the pandemic, over production, and diseases affecting the crop are the major reasons for the low price for the produce, trade sources said. Moreover, there have been no enquiries for the produce from northern India after the outbreak of the pandemic, they say.

The spot price of ginger in Wayanad on Saturday was ₹850 to ₹900 a bag (60 kg) as against ₹3,200 to ₹3,500 a bag during the corresponding period last year. The price had gone up to ₹8,000 a bag nearly three years back, which prompted many farmers to take up ginger cultivation.

“The area under ginger cultivation had increased nearly threefold this season owing to good prices in the past two years. An average yield of ginger from an acre is 18 to 20 tonnes. But it declined to 10 to 12 tonnes this season owing to fungal diseases in many parts of Karnataka,” P.V. Eliyas, a farmer, says.

K.K. George, a farmer from Meenangadi, says he had invested nearly ₹60 lakh on the crop on 10 acre of leased land at Sargur in Mysuru. But, he is not sure if he can recoup half the amount at the prevailing rate.

The condition of other farmers is not different. Moreover, nobody can predict how the second wave of the pandemic will affect the price of the produce, he says.

Around 25,000 farmers from Wayanad, Kannur, Kozhikode, and Palakkad have taken up ginger cultivation in around 1,0,000 ha of leased land in Karnataka this year.

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