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In a first, 2.5 tonnes of pineapple sent to Delhi by train

Online marketplace for fruit and vegetable farmers being developed to market their produce

In a first, All Kerala Pineapple Farmers’ Association, with 900 members, has sent a consignment of pineapples to Delhi by rail.

The shipment contained 2.5 tonnes of pineapple and was sent by the Delhi-bound Nizamuddin Express from the Ernakulam South station on Wednesday.

According to James George Thottumariyil, association president, the consignment is sent to Diem Agro LLP, an agri business start-up incubated at Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, and funded by the Agriculture Ministry. The start-up is developing an online marketplace for fruit and vegetable farmers, especially for pineapple farmers in Kerala, to market their produce among interstate buyers.

Usually, pineapple is sent to north India by road in trucks which take five days to reach Delhi, while by rail, it reaches in 50 hours, Mr. Thottumariyil said. “Thus, we can offer fresher fruits this time to the market, and if the experiment succeeds, we have plans to send bigger consignments regularly,” he added.

The association is getting tremendous support from the State Horticulture Mission – Kerala and the Railway Ministry. “Kisan Rail, which was launched in August last year, was in touch with us for sending fruits by rail and when the right time came, we took up the task,” he said.

The GI-tagged Vazhakulam Pineapple is always getting attractive trade queries from north India, and the State Horticulture Mission – Kerala and the Railways have offered attractive incentives to send bigger consignments, he added.

Farmers in Kerala cultivate pineapple in around 18,000 hectares and produce 5.5 lakh tonnes of the fruit at the moment.

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