Papaya growers burn fingers in Ch'nagar

 Adding to the farmers troubles are the prices of the papaya that have crashed to Rs four or five as compared to the prices, which had reached Rs 15 last year.

Expecting to gain profit for three years after planting the sapling, the pest attack has destroyed their expectations in the region. Papaya has been planted in around 1,000 acres in the district. However, the yield was for only 750 acres. Twenty per cent of the standing crop has also been lost due to the Millibug.

Areas such as Gumballi, Gangavadi, Dasanahundi, Sathegaala and Hanuru were flourishing with Papaya’s, but due to insects and virus, farmers are now at a loss.

The demand for papaya is from metro markets such as Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Merchants from other states visit the markets here and bring profits to the farmers. But this year, the merchants visiting the district for trade has dwindled. The hopes of farmers to make profits during Ramzan season, were also dashed.

Due to the Millibug infection the shape of the papaya is also coming out in unusual ways. Even though there are hundreds of papayas, how many will be sold? question farmers.  
The major papaya seed is the Taiwan based Redlady. The fruit is tastier and also has an increased demand in the market. Around 3,000 saplings were planted in November to meet this demand.

Even though farmers are making huge losses, roadside vendors are making a profit by selling the fruit at Rs 10-12 for per kg. There is a provision under the National Horticultural Mission to increase growth area for papaya. Rs 30,000 is provided as assistance for one hectare. Last year only 25 hectares in the region were provided with assistance. This year, around 75 hectares are being given assistance. Due to the Milibug, the extension of the Papaya growth has stopped, said district horticulture department deputy director Girish.

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