Visakhapatnam: After selling 1,600 pineapples in a couple of days in Kakinada, S Krishna Rao, a pineapple grower near Seethampeta, Srikakulam district, is delighted to see an equally encouraging response from customers in Visakhapatnam for the aromatic fruit. He is one among a team of organic farmers associated with the farmer-producer groups, Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), who headed to the port city with a hope to make considerable proceeds from sacks of pineapples. Also Read – Producing films, serials my ambition, says Nani Advertise With Us Making use of the facilities provided by ITDA, Seethampeta and Marketing Department, tribal pineapple growers find it viable to sell their produce in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, Rajamahendravaram, Kakinada, Eluru, Vijayawada and Guntur. Initiated by the then ITDA, Seethampeta Project Officer Siva Sankar Lotheti (now Joint Collector of Visakhapatnam), several pineapple growers find the sale of their organic produce improving substantially. With 50% transport subsidy, stalls at Rythu Bazaars and godowns provided at nominal rentals to ITDA farmers, they find it a lucrative to sell their produce in cities and towns compared to mandals they come from. “The fruit which they sell for Rs.5 or Rs.6 per piece in their village are being sold here at Rs.20 to Rs.30 depending on the size. Also Read – Students told to make Swatch Bharat a success: Collector Mohammad Imtiaz Advertise With Us There is a growing demand for organic fruit in the market which is witnessing a sale of almost 300 to 400 pineapples a day,” observes B N M Raju, estate officer, Peda Waltair. Horticulture Department officials say that the increasing demand for pineapples in cities like Visakhapatnam is making the farmers shift to places. “In Seethampeta alone, about 2,500 people are engaged in pineapple farming spread over 5,000 acres approximately. There is an annual production of 2.50 lakh tonnes of pineapples in the area. However, with the platform facilitated by the ITDA and Marketing department, there is price stability for the pineapple growers, leading to a rise of 40% to 50% in their sale proceeds,” says Kanchi Satyanarayana Reddy, Assistant Director Horticulture, ITDA, Seethampeta.