A 20-year-old demand of the drumstick farmers for establishing a cold storage in Aravakurichi is yet to be met.
Though most parties, including the AIADMK and the DMK have been promising to establish a cold storage exclusively for drumstick, the promise is yet to be fulfilled.
According to estimates, drumstick is cultivated on about 40,000 acres in Aravakurichi and neighbouring villages in Karur district. While a section of farmers grows drumstick as a garden crop, others raise it as a field crop.
Venjamangudalur, Esanatham, Ammapatti, Koththapalayam, Manalmedu, Palayam, Eesanathan, Pungapadi and Vellodu are among the major cultivating centres. Though Aravakurichi block is considered as rain shadow, farmers prefer to bring as many acres as possible under drumstick coverage as the soil suits well. Moreover, the crop can sustain severe drought.
Besides catering to the need of local consumers, traders send the famous ‘Aravakurichi drumstick’ to various States, including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
On an average, 25 to 30 truckloads of drumstick are sent from Aravakurichi daily, particularly during summer.
Despite a good harvest during the current season, farmers feel that the price offered by traders is highly inadequate and it is the middlemen, who often get benefited. In the absence of the cold storage, farmers clear the stock on day-to-day basis as they cannot afford to keep drumstick unsold.
Farmers said that they had raised the demand of establishing a cold storage for drumstick about 20 years ago. But, it is remains an election issue.
During the Assembly election in 2016, V. Senthil Balaji, who was the AIADMK nominee then and K.C. Palanisamy, the DMK nominee of the Aravakurichi constituency, promised to set up a cold storage.
They repeated the promise in the countermanded election held six months later. The promise has been made in the by-poll too now by the AIADMK nominee V.V. Senthilnathan and Mr. Senthil Balaji.
“If we have a cold storage facility, we can wait for one or two weeks to get better price for drumstick. It will be a boost for both farmers and traders,” says K. Balu, a drumstick farmer of Aravakurichi.