Mango sales turn sour on Highway
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Mango sales turn sour on Highway

June 23, 2021
  • Just 15 to 20 mango vendors line Mysuru-Hunsur Highway instead of the usual 300 
  • Mango vendors hit by poor sales as motorists do not stop fearing COVID risk

Hunsur/Mysuru: Pandemic-induced lockdown and restrictions have hit supplies and sales of mangoes in the peak season, causing losses to farmers and traders who are unable to market their produce and get proper prices. As a result of the lockdown, the sale of mangoes has nosedived too, much to the chagrin of fruit sellers. 

Mysuru is a big trading centre for mangoes every summer season but this year the business volumes have declined. Though there is some amount of trade within the city as there is a small window of sale from 6 am to 10 am every day, mango sellers on the Highway Mandi on Mysuru-Hunsur Road are a worried lot as no vehicle stops by to buy the juicy fruits that have been arranged endearingly. The ever-busy Highway between Yelwal and Ankanahalli on the Mysuru-Hunsur Road used to be dotted with pushcarts selling mangoes, jackfruit, guavas and even pomegranates. As this is a mango season, 90 percent of the vendors sold mangoes. 

Usually, the moment one crossed Hinkal Flyover, one could not miss the mango lots arranged in triangular shapes with semi-ripe ones at the bottom and ripe and aromatic ones on top. Both sides of the Highway used to be dominated by these pushcarts every fruit season and during summer, there used to be mushrooming of stalls selling the ‘King of Fruits.’ 

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This year, however, there are not many pushcarts on the stretch as most of the vendors have realised that there will be no buyers. Now one can find just 15 to 20 such carts on the road instead of more than 300 vendors on either side. 

Getting fruits from various villages like Nagawala, Benkipura and surrounding areas, the vendors stood all day to make some money. But this year, not many vehicles heading towards Kodagu, Hassan and K.R. Nagar stop here due to the risky nature of COVID virus spread. Varieties of mangoes like Badami, Malagova, Neelam, Rasapuri, Thotapuri, Baganapalli, Sindoora, Neelam, Langda, Alphonso, etc. are being sold here this year but there are no customers. 

Then & Now: Mango vendors dot the Highway as customers stop to purchase the ‘King of Fruits’ before COVID, in 2018. Picture right shows a lone mango vendor on the Mysuru-Hunsur Highway yesterday (June 22, 2021) .

“Limited supplies, lack of sales and the pandemic have combined to ruin our lives. Sales have taken a sharp hit due to the on-going pandemic and the fruits get spoilt. Till last year, we managed to make minimal profits on many days and on some days, profits are good. This year, it is a washout,” Nagaraja, a fruit vendor told Star of Mysore. 

“Our income has come down by 75 percent and we wait for buyers from dawn to dusk. On many days, we either throw away the ripe fruits by the side of the road or feed cattle,” he added. 

Pandemic or no pandemic, these vendors have to buy mangoes from landlords for a price and then later they have to sell them at a reasonable price and make profits. Fruit sellers complained that they have to make payments but the drop in sales is making things difficult. 

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“There has been bumper harvesting of mangoes this season. However, the fruit is not attracting customers in view of the prevailing situation. Also, COVID infection is not getting contained. I am quite sure the lockdown will get extended, which will compound our woes,” said Harish, another vendor.

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