Updated: August 7, 2021 6:48:18 pm
Farmers from Purandar, especially growers of custard apple, are worried after the state’s first Zika virus infection case was reported in this taluka in Pune district last week. With the custard apple season in full swing, farmers fear that stoppage of movement by other states may see fruit prices plunge.
The dry and arid region of Purandar is known for its orchards of custard apples, pomegranates and figs. The former is a prized produce from the area and has robust demand from states such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi. Trade happens via both land and air routes, with multiple packing and grading centres operating in the area. An average of 100-200 tonnes of the fruit is handled here on a daily basis.
Last week, a village in Purandar reported the first case of Zika virus infection in a 50-year-old woman. The detection comes after multiple Zika cases were reported from Kerala.
Travel advisories issued by the National Institute For Communicable Diseases has urged that non-essential travel to areas with Zika cases should be avoided. This, coupled with fear of the virus, may affect the movement of goods and traders to and from Purandar.
Rohan Ursal, a trader and farmer from the area, said the discovery of a Zika case in Purandar has come as a surprise for them. “The central team had visited the area and since then, there have been many public announcements about the dos and don’ts….,” he said.
In case other states ban travel from Purandar, farmers growing custard apples, which are being harvested now, will suffer losses. “We are keeping a close watch on the situation and hope this… does not hamper our earnings,” said Ursal.
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