Coronavirus lockdown hits Maharashtra’s orange, grape growers

ST CORRESPONDENT
Friday, 3 April 2020

According to the OGAI, trucks filled with oranges are standing in the wholesale markets in Kolkata, Delhi and other cities as no consumers are there.

PUNE: The coronavirus lockdown has hit the fruit growers badly. The Orange Growers Association of India (OGAI) is facing issues as the trucks filled with oranges are standing in the wholesale market due to lack of consumers. The grapes growers are also facing similar problems as there are fewer consumers in the market to buy the fruits.

WOES OF ORANGE GROWERS
According to the OGAI, trucks filled with oranges are standing in the wholesale markets in Kolkata, Delhi and other cities as no consumers are there. They have written a letter to the Central government asking to utilise the infrastructure of Mother Dairy, SAFAL in New Delhi in procuring oranges and also distributing it to the retail market.

Amol Totey, the Working President of OGAI, said, “The orange growers from Nagpur and Amravati region were already suffering losses because of the hailstorm. Now due to coronavirus pandemic, trucks are stranded in the market at many cities across the State. Therefore, we have asked to utilise the infrastructure of Mother Dairy, SAFAL. The National Dairy Development Board’s infrastructure can be used for transferring the oranges in their trucks and also help in marketing from their retail stores.”

Delving on the repayment of loans, Totey further said, “After lockdown, orange growers likely to face difficulties in repaying their working capital crop loans. We have requested to waive off interest portion on working capital crop loans for the current financial year. 

“And if required in some areas where the financial loss of orange growers is on the higher side, working capital crop loan must be converted into a medium-term loan.”

TOUGH TIME FOR GRAPE GROWERS
The grapes growers are also facing issues as there are no takers for the product in the market. They are also facing problems in their farms due to the labour crisis.

President of Grapes Growers Association of India Sopan Kanchan said, “Export of grapes has already been hit by the coronavirus pandemic as major importers are European countries. However, there is hardly any sell in the local market due to the lockdown. 

“The worst problem is that we also need to work in the farm for the next season but there is hardly any labourers, and it is very important to take care of orchards in summer and if you fail to do so it can damage the roots.”

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