The king of fruits graces the road

The king of fruits graces the road

One knows that it is the season of mangoes when the signature mango ‘mandi’ is set up on Jayamahal Road. This season, around 25 varieties of mango from various states are being sold here and their prices range from Rs 50 to Rs 120 a kilo. While most of the vendors are from Tamil Nadu, many are from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Some of the fastest selling mangoes are Malgova, Raspuri, Badami, Sendura, Tottapuri, Alphonso, Kalapahad, Mallika, Lalbagh and Baiganpalli. Sugar Baby, an unusual variety from Tamil Nadu which is small, round and extraordinarily sweet, has been very popular in the market too. Several vendors come to the City specially to set up a stall here and stay on in this ‘makeshift home’ of theirs from May to July till the Neelam mango hits the market. Found in abundance in June, the entry of Neelam in the market signifies the end of the season.

However, many vendors complain that there has been a dip in the sales this year. Says Munilakshmamma, who has been in the business for over five years, “The prices have shot up due to the non-seasonal rain. The rains began as early as January and each fruit cost is double the price when compared to last year. I earned a mere Rs 5, 000 the previous month and if this goes on, my livelihood will surely be affected.”

The vendors claim that over 25 tonnes of mangoes were sold last month and are expecting the numbers to rise in the coming days. Many of them even buy mangoes from farmers in the Kanakapura market and resell them at a wholesale price while some buy them from other markets in the City and resell them at a high margin. Kavitha, who has been selling mangoes for over four years, says, “We pay a lot for the mangoes that we buy from the farmers. We also have to bear the transportation cost, rent and the ‘commission’ for the traffic police. Due to all of this, it becomes an expensive affair. Many a time, the fruits get damaged due to heavy rains and even here at the market, there is no proper storage facility.”

Vasu has been selling mangoes in this ‘mela’ for over four years. He sells mangoes from Andhra Pradesh. “Badami, Raspuri and Alphonso are the most popular varieties this season. Despite the high rates, we get many customers as the mangoes are natural and no artificial colours are used to produce them. We wrap the fruit in newspaper for three to four days for it to ripen before selling it off.” A resident of Sadashivanagar, Anjali B needs no reason to buy mangoes. “Summer is incomplete without mangoes. Although the rates are high, many varieties of mangoes are reasonably priced. One can even make a range of dishes with them. There are times when artificial colours and pesticides are used but it is important to wash the fruit thoroughly before consuming it,” she says.

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