Pumpkin farmers hit by low prices

Published : 8:09 am  May 14, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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Say kilo of pumpkin as down as Rs 7



By Dayaratne Embogama

Vegetable farmers in Nachaduwa and Aturuwella in Anuradhapura, who cultivated pumpkin (Wattakka) are in a predicament for want of a market for their produce, farming sources said.
They said they had a bumper harvest in the Maha season but large stocks of produce had been left to the mercy of the elements

They said they switched to vegetable cultivation when the monsoon rain failed compelling them to abandon paddy cultivation.

They pointed out that they were not able to sell pumpkin even at Rs.7 a kilo and that large stocks had been left in the jungle and in the home gardens.

Vegetable cultivators blamed the authorities for failing to work out an effective mechanism to distribute their produce in other areas where the retail price of a pumpkin had shot up to Rs.50 a kilo.  “We had no alternative but to cultivate pumpkin for want of water for paddy cultivation. We switched to pumpkin cultivation when the price was about Rs. 60 a kilo. Today we have been left without a remunerative market for our produce.

“The initial expense to cultivate an acre of pumpkin was more than Rs.50,000. Now we are in a predicament without means to settle bank loans and to pay for fertilizer and chemicals purchased on credit.

The Minister had told the media that he had allocated funds to purchase the excess pumpkin, but no steps were  taken so far, they said.