A ‘Pineapple Challenge' for a cause!

Pineapple, a tropical fruit rich in vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants, is known to boost immune system. It has bromelain enzymes with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and is widely used in Ayurveda for treating many illnesses including dysmenorrhea, anorexia, jaundice and constipation.

Now, a novel ‘Pineapple Challenge' has been initiated in Ernakulam district of the South Indian State of Kerala, to help people avail high quality pineapples at cheap rate and to aid farmers who have been hit hard by Covid-19 lockdown. Agricultural officers in the State have joined hands with the farmers, including those cultivating the sweetest Vazhakkulam variety, to roll out the project.

“The harvest season is round the corner and usually this is a period when bulk quantities of the fruit are exported to northern States and abroad. However, the lockdown has upset their plans this year. Hence, we thought of a way to help them find markets and came up with this idea,” said John Sherry, Assistant Director, State Agriculture Department, Ernakulam district.

Under the project, the ‘Association of Agricultural Officers’ would procure fresh 'A' grade pineapples and deliver them to various parts of the Ernakulam district based on bulk orders.

“Minimum order is 100 kgs and spot delivery will be done in such cases. The top-quality fruit is being sold at Rs 20 a kilo. The delivery is being done on the same day of procurement,” said Chitra K. Pillai, Agricultural Officer, Maradu, who manages the orders. The orders can be placed on WhatsApp at 9995820686, 9895691687, 9495950275 and 9995155346.

The response from public has been heartening so far with many procuring the fruit to boost their immunity as a preventive measure against respiratory diseases. “In just two days, we’ve received 320 orders, mainly from residents’ associations, apartment complex groups, NGOs, small scale industrial units and even individuals. Nearly 50 tonnes of the fruit have already been sold and the orders are coming steadily,” Pillai said.

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