The Agriculture department proposes to introduce base prices for five more vegetables and fruits as a safeguard for farmers.

Department sources said brinjal, elephant-foot yam, bottle gourd, watermelon, and pumpkin had been recommended for inclusion in the list that contained 16 fruits, tubers and vegetables.

The recommendation is currently before the government.

First introduced by the State government in 2020, the base prices are designed as a safeguard for farmers in the event of unfavourable price fluctuations in the market.

As per a Cabinet decision in October 2020, base prices were announced for tapioca, Nendran banana/Wayanadan Nendran, pineapple, ash gourd, cucumber, bitter gourd, snake gourd, string beans, tomato, ladies’ finger, cabbage, carrot, potato, beans, beet root and garlic.

Base prices for these items were determined by factoring in the production cost plus 20% on the basis of a study carried out by the State Agricultural Prices Board. To prevent malpractice, the government had also announced a ceiling for per-hectare productivity for each item.

The five new items were recommended following a demand from farmers to include more vegetables and fruits in the list, an official of the Agriculture Department said.

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