By M.B. Pavan Murthy
Mysore/Mysuru: With all trading and commercial activities coming to a grinding halt due to COVID-19 lockdown, the trading of banana in Boti Bazar (mutton market) area on Aane Sarot road in the heart of the city has come down drastically, much to the despair of banana merchants.
The Boti Bazar located adjacent to Devaraja Market, has many Banana Mandis and other wholesale fruit shops. While most banana traders have shifted to RMC Market yard in 2015, some others continue trading in their old shops on Boti Bazar area which was until a few months ago was famous for banana wholesale trade.
But things have completely changed for the traders following the COVID-19 lockdown, who say that their business turnover has come down by over 70 percent in the past one month. Many banana traders say that very few buyers are coming following the lockdown, which has been a cause of great concern for them.
Banana merchants hit
Speaking to ‘Star of Mysore’, R. Prakash, owner of Sapthagiri Balemandi in Boti Bazar area said that he owns three shops in the area which supply bananas of different varieties such as Yelakki, Cavendish and Nanjangud rasabale to retail shops in localities across the city at wholesale rates. But things have changed altogether in the last one month of the lockdown, as there are few buyers.
In the past, business used to begin at 7 am but now due to lockdown regulations, trading commences at 5 am. Earlier, retail sellers used to buy 5 bunches of banana, which has now come down to just 2 because retailers are facing a huge drop in demand, he said and added that, however, the prices have come down post lockdown.
Maintaining that he had not witnessed such a situation in the past, Prakash said that Boti Bazar banana traders purchase the fruit from the farmers at a price one rupee higher than that offered by HOPCOMS and added that most growers come to Boti Bazar as it is the most prominent area for banana trading.
80 percent drop in business
Naushad, another Banana wholesale trader at Boti Bazar said that he has witnessed an 80 percent drop in business post lockdown. He said that due to poor business, most of the shops have shut and only four of them are open, including his. Although the price of fruits have come down and the shops are permitted to open with regulations in place, only a few customers are coming.
Meanwhile, Butter fruit (Benne Hannu) which is another fruit that is sold in Boti Bazar area, is rotting in shops, with hardly any buyers. Juice sellers were the main customers for butter fruits, which used to sell at Rs.100 to 120 a kg before lockdown. But with most shops closed and hardly a few buyers, the fruit is rotting. Even though the fruit is being sold at half the usual price, there are no buyers, rues Naushad who said that it is painful for him to see the fruits decaying.
Pushcart vendors affected
Boti Bazar area, which is known for wholesale trade of fruits, also provides some space for push-cart fruit vendors. However, these push cart vendors too are staring at an uncertain future as their business has drastically come down following the lockdown.
Mahadeva, a push cart vendor said that he has been doing business in Boti Bazar area and near Dufferin clock tower (small clock tower) for the past 15 years and there are over a hundred pushcart vendors like him. Now due to the lockdown only a handful of customers come to the market and as such, their business has taken a severe hit.