Economy in Konkan region takes a big hit during Covid-19 Lockdown

The economy in the coastal districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in the Konkan region of Maharashtra has taken a major hit due to the pandemic lockdown. All local sources of income have dried up pushing the locals to depend on the remittances and fund transfers sent by relatives staying in other states and overseas.

The former member of Maharashtra Horticulture Board, Vivek Bhide, said that the local economy depends on the four spokes of tourism, fisheries, mangoes and cashews. March, April and May are crucial months for making money. These months also coincide with the holiday season in the country.

The local economy gets a big boost in these months as tourists from other cites come to Konkan to relish its beaches and scenic destinations. The same is the case with the fisheries business as the sea is calm and most conducive for fishing. In fact, the three months are crucial for making profits in the fishing business before the boats have to be anchored for the monsoon season. However, due to the lockdown, both March and April turned out to a total washout, and May could also be going the same way, he said.

A faculty member at the Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, which is the local agriculture college, at Dapoli, said that due to the excess rainfall last year, the crop had got affected as it delayed fruit setting. The delayed crop was expected in May but last week’s rains all but destroyed the hopes of ever recovering the money. The moisture in the air will trigger a fungus attack damaging the fruits. The Covid-19 pandemic has destroyed the export market too, the faculty member said.

Today, a box of four dozen Alphonso mangoes are being sold by the farmers for less than ₹1,000, while last year they were getting ₹2,000 or even more for a similar box.

The faculty member added that the cashew business has also been impacted because while the excess rains last year had impacted the crop and yield, today, when the cashew is ready for being dispatched to the processing units, there are no takers since cashew does not fall under essential commodity. Soon, these cashews will start rotting if they are not sent to processing units, he said.

Local businessman Amol Kambali from Mithgavane village in Ratnagiri district said that all his vehicles used to ferry tourists and transport mangoes are idling in the garage as there is no business. However, the EMI needs to be paid to the banks eventually. Without income, the local businessmen will find it very difficult to pay back even the interest, he said.

Courtesy: thehindubusinessline

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