Karnataka growers dump mangos as demand slumps, prices crash

Bengaluru (IANS)┬áHundreds of distressed mango growers in Karnataka’s Kolar district have been dumping mangos on roads near Srinivasapura over a week due to steep fall in demand and crash in their prices, traders said on Sunday.

“As demand for some variety of mangoes like Thothapuri and Banganapalli fell drastically due to thee extended lockdown affecting their sales and consumption, the growers have been forced to dump their unsold stocks, as the fruit was ripening faster in summer heat,” grower-cum-trader G.B. Suraj told IANS on phone from Kolar, about 100 km east of Bengaluru.

Though the production was higher due to timely rains and favourable climate leading to a record harvest, he said the demand was about 50 per cent less than last year, as many traders from across the state, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu kept away from buying the king of fruit in bulk quantity, as they were ripening fast and becoming perishable.

“Unlike in the past, mango juice makers and pulp-processing units have also not been buying the fruit in large quantity due to disruption in supply chain and logistics. Growers have no choice but dump their crop on roads, as they were ripening and perishing by the day,” Suraj lamented.

For instance, price of Thothapuri variety crashed to Rs 5 per kg from Rs 20-25 per kg a year ago and of Beneisha to Rs 20/kg from Rs 80/kg a year ago in the wholesale market due to supply being more than demand in Covid times.

As the mango peak season (April-May) was lost in the midst of the pandemic’s second wave and prolonged lockdown, demand and consumption were hit due to closure of hotels, juice centres, and the ban on weddings and festivals.

“As there are no factories to make mango pulp in Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts, where the fruit production is high, we (growers and traders) depend on buyers from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. As demand declined due to fall in consumption, pulp-variety mangoes were ripening and rotting,” said Kolar district mango growers’ Association President N.C. Reddy.

As mango growers and farmers suffered huge loss due to weak demand and poor sales, he said the association had petitioned the state government to compensate them to minimise their hardship.

“Due to slump in demand, Benishan variety price crashed to Rs 8,000 per tonne from Rs 80,000/tonne a year ago and Rs 1 lakh/tonne in 2019. As there are not enough buyers, growers are forced to dump their mangoes to save cost incurred on transporting them to the APMC market for selling,” said Reddy.

Kolar in the Mysuru region is one of the largest mango-growing districts in the state, with orchards spread over 1 lakh hectares.

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