Covid-19 lockdown spells trouble for strawberry growers in India’s Uttar Pradesh state

Strawberry growers in Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal district are facing huge losses this season amid the nation-wide lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak and they are forced to uproot their produce as they are unable to sell it in the markets,  reports ANI news agency.

Earlier the strawberry growers here had to suffer losses following a hailstorm, now that the markets are shut, the strawberry produce is yet to be sold. However, some of the farmers are left with no other option but to uproot the produce before they suffers any more losses.

Although the Central and State governments are constantly talking about providing relief to the farmers, these farmers of ambhal district in Uttar Pradesh are currently bearing the brunt of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Speaking to ANI, a strawberry grower said, “We start cultivating on October 15 which goes on till May 15. But due to the hailstorm, we have suffered huge losses this time. And now the Mandis are shut due to the lockdown. We thought of growing chillies and ridge gourd,” said Ravi Kumar, a farmer.

“Our produce is supplied to Delhi’s Azadpur Mandi and in Dehradun and Lucknow. Mandis are closed, that is why we can not send our produce there. Although we are facing losses, we understand that lockdown is needed to combat coronavirus,” he added. Another farmer said that they will uproot their strawberry produce before they suffer any more losses. On the other hand, amid the current situation, the farmers here are cultivating other crops as well in a bid to suffer fewer losses.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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