Nipah outbreak: It’s a bitter pill for Kozhikode fruit vendors

KOZHIKODE: The Nipah virus scare has taken a toll on fruit sales in


district with wholesale dealers and vendors saying that the sales have plummeted by over 50% in the last three days.
Wholesalers said that the government’s advisories to avoid eating fruits bitten by fruit bats, the natural reservoir of the Nipah virus, have led to a decline in sales even as most fruits in Kerala market are from other states.
“Our wholesale trade declined by 70%. Earlier, I used to sell one load to retailers every day but now 50% of the load which arrived three days ago remains unsold. Of the 100 boxes which arrived three days ago, 50-plus boxes remain unsold,” said Ajfal Thaha EP of EPK Fruits Merchants at


in Kozhikode.
He said that people’s fears are unfounded as there are no chances of fruits bitten by bats being sold in shops and most fruits sold in Kerala came from other states. The same situation happened during earlier outbreaks in the district in 2018 and 2021, he added.

Ramachandran of V V Fruits at West Hill said that he saw at least a 50% drop in fruit sales. “We have reduced stocks, otherwise it will all get rotten. Though prices of fruits like oranges have reduced by Rs 10 a kg, there are not many takers,” he added.
Meanwhile, rambuttan farmers in the district are also feeling the pinch as buyers, who had entered into agreements to buy this season’s harvest, are not turning up.
Joy Kannanchira, a farmer from Kavilampara who has a 1.5 acre Rambuttan farm at Maruthonkara panchayat, said that the fruits are ready to harvest. Though buyers agreed to take the fruits at Rs 2 lakh, they are now desisting citing a very dull market, he said. “The fruits are now ready for harvest and will remain on trees for another 15 days and will fall off if not harvested. Also, the wholesale market price of rambutan, which had earlier touched Rs 220, has now plunged to below Rs 150,” he said.

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