Farmers who had incurred losses in the past two years due to the pandemic are selling the fruit at higher rates this year as the yield is low compared to previous years.
Customers must pay at least 1,000 more for a fruit basket than in previous years. A custard apple basket (150-160 custard apples) sold for 1,500 last year, however, a fruit basket now costs 2,500 and more.
Tribal farmers in Paderu, Seethampeta, Araku, Chintapalle and some other areas in northern PA grow cinnamon apple on over 14,000 acres as a separate and intercrop as the traditional crop in the hill region. More than 25,000 farmers depend on the cultivation of custard apple in the region. “We suffered losses as we sold the fruits at lower prices in 2020 and 2021 due to the virus. There is huge demand for custard apples in Vizag city and few other cities in the region and southern districts of Odisha. And this year we have reason to be happy because the yield is low but the fruit prices are encouraging. A few days ago I sold 160 custard apples for 2,700,” said P Gangannaa tribal farmer from Ananthagiri Mandal in ASR district.
Nutrition experts have said that custard apple is a seasonal and organic fruit. The fruit has a high nutritional value as it is rich in potassium, magnesium and vitamin A.
“I never miss the sweet custard apples. Although the fruit is a bit expensive, it would only come once a year. I’m tempted to eat the delicious fruit,” said Mr Radhaa resident of the town of Vizag.