BANGALORE: It is this time of the year, when we eagerly wait for the arrival of the King of the fruits. Juicy and succulent, Indian mangoes are arguably one of the best tropical fruits found anywhere in the world. In fact, mangoes account for approximately half of all tropical fruits produced worldwide. However, with the delayed arrival and steep prices of some of the Southern varieties in India, consumers are extremely unhappy with the prevailing situation this year. City Express spoke to a few fruit vendors and merchants to shed some light on the lack of availability of mangoes this year.
The Indian mangoes are usually intolerant of humidity and bear a mono-embryonic fruit of high colour and regular form. They are generally harvested at physiologically mature stage and ripened for optimum quality. In South India, mango usually gives two flushes — from February to June and October to November. However, vendors claim that some of the local varieties are much costlier this year.
Many traders also believe that mango season has been delayed over all due to adverse weather conditions. This has inadvertently led to a massive rise in prices. A push cart vendor at Bilekahalli told City Express that he is selling Banganapalli variety at Rs 70 per half kg and that the mangoes are extremely late this season. He also added , “The demand is high this year. But, customers often come in, smell the mangoes and reject them saying it is not ripe, while the mangoes are golden yellow in colour. Artificial ripening is the culprit here. Now, I do not allow them to smell.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Anjanappa, another vendor at K R Market, said that they aren’t getting any supply from the outskirts of the city. They often find themselves looking at a substandard produce — be it raw or ripe mangoes.They are experiencing a massive dip in sales. Aslam, a salesperson at a retail store in J P Nagar, agreed and said that there is intense competition to procure good quality mangoes as this year’s yield is only trickling in. “We have customers walking in and asking for Rumani and Neelam, but they have not even hit the market yet,” said Aslam.
However, Jayanagar Market is seeing an increase in sale of raw mangoes but the customers are saying the prices are steep. “It is tradition in our family to make three varieties of mangoes pickles — Avvakkai, thokku, and cut mango — during summer vacation. But, this year, one small raw mango costs Rs 17. We are still waiting for the prices to go down,” said Sharadha Ravikumar, a resident of J P Nagar.