The All Kerala Pineapple Farmers’ Association, one of the largest in the country, has sent a consignment of pineapples to Delhi by rail for the first time, under the Kisan rail scheme. The farmers on Wednesday sent the parcel consignment of 2.5 tonnes ‘Vazhakulam’ pineapple by Delhi-bound Nizamuddin Express from Ernakulam South Railway station.
Normally, pineapple is sent to north India, one of the largest markets of the tropical fruit, by trucks, which takes five days to reach Delhi. By rail, the consignment will reach in 50 hours and ensures fresh fruits to the consumer, the Association said in a release.
“Thus, we can offer fresh fruits this time to the market and if the experiment succeeds, we have plans to send bigger consignments regularly,” James George Thottumariyil, President of the Association, said.
He also said the association received tremendous support from State Horticulture Mission, Kerala and the Department of Railways to make this happen.
According to Thottumariyil, the consignment is sent to Diem Agro LLP, an agri business start-up incubated at Haryana Agricultural University in Hisar and funded by RKVY-RAFTAAR scheme under the Union Ministry of Agriculture.
Currently, Kerala cultivates pineapples in around 18,000 hectares of land and produces 5.5 lakh tonnes annually.
The first consignment was flagged off from All Kerala Pineapple Farmers’ headquarters in Vazhakulam to Kochi.
The GI-tagged Vazhakulam Pineapple is always getting attractive trade queries from north India and State Horticulture Mission – Kerala and the Railways have offered attractive incentives to send bigger consignments.
Diem Agro LLP, the agri business startup to whom the first consignment via rail is sent, is developing online marketplace for fruits and vegetables farmers to market their produce to interstate buyers, especially for the pineapple farmers in Kerala.