Month after launch, mango corp has just 70 orders

Poor response

The corporation gave itself a fighting chance in the most competitive marketplace by adding several fresh fruits to the list such as pomegranates, guava, fig and orchids as it hoped to boost orders from consumers. 

A month after its launch, the Karnataka State Mango Development Corporation’s web portal has received just 70 orders that left officials and farmers disheartened. 

The corporation gave itself a fighting chance in the most competitive marketplace by adding several fresh fruits to the list such as pomegranates, guava, fig and orchids as it hoped to boost orders from consumers. 

But what seemed like an ingenious idea to create a viable marketplace for farmers, the online retailing platform — which the corporation created teaming with the postal department to ensure delivery — developed several issues which the officials dubbed as teething troubles. Farmers, however, complain that the orders are far too few. 

Aruna Anjanappa, a guava grower from Devanahalli, told DH that she received just two orders. “When it started, they asked us to deliver the fruits on Tuesdays and Fridays. Owing to the poor response, they scaled it back to just one supply a week,” Aruna said.

Selling such low volumes has made it difficult for farmers to cover even the fuel cost. “Whether it’s two boxes or more, I’ve to send the car to the city. That isn’t viable,” Aruna said.

Srinivasaraju, a pomegranate cultivator from Ballari, said he received eight orders in the first week but the numbers nosedived thereafter. “Online business, if it works well, would be a big boon to farmers. But the current sales are minuscule,” he said.

Though Srinivasaraju is getting repeat orders, he said new customers are very few, adding that the corporation should publicise the online platform and spread awareness about it. 

A source in the mango corporation told DH that the 70 orders were brought in two batches to make it feasible.

“We’re a government-run corporation and can’t afford to hire Bollywood celebrities for promotion. There should be publicity in other forms,” said the source. “If we sell only mangoes, the portal would be inactive during the off-season. So we added other fruits. Farmers from Ballari take orders for pomegranates. Things would work for them only if there’s an increase in volume,” the source added.

The corporation’s managing director was not available for comment. 

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