The farm tourism industry that was growing stable for the past five years in Munnar town of Kerala’s Idukki district has started to dwindle ever since the pandemic kicked off.
Farmer are now upset as they claim an entire fruit season has gone to waste.
According to a report by The Hindu, farmers said that there were visitors even during the off-season, and enjoyed fruits like apple, orange, plum, passion fruit, guava, tamarillo, and mosambi in the orchards. However, they said, the pandemic has upturned their prospects.
Even with the loosening of COVID-related restrictions the industry still hasn’t managed to fully recover yet. “There is a noticeable decline in the arrival of tourists,” Rajeshkumar, a worker at a farm unit told The Hindu.
Strawberry farming, in particular, had been dealt a heavy blow. Strawberry is easily perishable produce and doesn’t have a long shelf life, which means not a lot of agencies buy the produce. Strawberry is also not popular in traditional dishes of Kerala and its market was in the farm tourism sector.
The Hindu reported that there are around 200 farmers in the Devikulam taluk that produce strawberries.
Kerala Farm Tourism describes farm tourism as “any agriculture-based activity, which attracts tourists.” It usually involves accommodation, farm visits, farm shop visits, guided walks, and farm activities.
Farm tourism acted as an additional source of income for farmers in several districts of Kerala like Wayanad, Idukki, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta, and Kottayam, and the farming community occupies a unique place in society.
Kerala now has a cumulative caseload of 6,88,409 COVId-19 cases and a test positivity rate of 8.17% today.