Growers bear the brunt of lockdown; Prices plummet to new low due to lack of demand
Mysore/Mysuru: Summer is soaring and the ‘King of Fruits’ has not yet occupied its throne in Mysuru, thanks to COVID-19 outbreak. Due to the pandemic and the ongoing lockdown, the mangoes are not getting an enthusiastic welcome that it gets every year in Namma Mysuru.
While almost everyone is craving to sink in their teeth in the luscious, tasty delight, sourcing them has become a huge problem due to lockdown and restricted movement of consignments.
This is that time of the year when mangoes pile up in make-shift shops, carts, street corners and stalls at various junctions and prominent places in city where the juicy, golden fruits jostle for space with watermelons, pomegranates and apples. But this year, Coronavirus pandemic has dampened the sale of mangoes.
Mangoes are grown across Mysuru Taluk like Yelwal, Hullahalli, K.R. Nagar, H.D. Kote, Nanjangud, Periyapatna and Hunsur and in places near Mysuru like Nagawala, Bommenahalli, Seigalli, Vasaramanahalli, Kumarahalli, Ratnahalli, Benkipura and surrounding areas.
The varieties they grow are Badami, Rasapuri, Malagova, Apoos, Mundappa and Thotapuri. Plus, every year, there is a flood of other varieties like Alphonso, Baganapalli, Kesari, Himapasha, Sakregulla, Kesari and Dusseri from places like Chittoor, Ahmedabad, and Krishnagiri.
Though a few varieties have landed in the APMC Market, there are no buyers. Mehboob Shariff, President, APMC Association, who is popularly known as Patthar Babu, told ‘Star of Mysore’ that mangoes have started trickling in since the last six days and many transporters are facing difficulties in transporting the fruit from one place to another due to lockdown.
Growers are scared and in some places, mango contractors who usually take many mango orchards in villages into contract are denied entry into villages due to the virus spread. “Nanjangud is out of question because the entire taluk has been quarantined. But even in other places, contractors are denied entry. At some villages, fruits have ripened on the tree tops but still contractors are not being allowed inside,” he said.
Prices have crashed as the fruits that used to cost Rs. 100 to Rs. 120 per kg are being traded at Rs. 30 to Rs. 60 as there is no demand. “Despite arrangements being made at the APMC Yard by the District Administration and the Police, sellers and buyers are scared to trade. This year, there is less crop but still there is no demand,” Mehboob Shariff said.
From farmers to flat scheme
The Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation (KSMDMC) has tied up with the India Post to deliver the fruit within a week of receiving the order.
As per plans, growers will be given a separate login on the website to check orders and what category of mangoes is in demand. They will then have to deliver the mangoes to the Central Post Office in Bengaluru. Since fruits come under essential goods, farmers are allowed to commute and transport their goods to markets.
However, this facility is limited only to Bengaluru and will not be extended to Mysuru. Postal Department authorities told ‘Star of Mysore’ that there are many logistical issues to supply mangoes to the doorsteps. “We need to get the fruits from Bengaluru Central Post Office and then deliver them to houses. As mangoes are perishable items, it will be a tough task,” officers said.