Lest you be denied the luscious lot in peak season

Lest you be denied the luscious lot in peak season

Officials expect the online retailer to bring more customers for the Alphonso, considered to be the expensive variety of mango.DH File Photo

After taking the post office route for door-delivery of mango during the lockdown and connecting farmers with RWAs for bulk sale, the Horticulture Department has roped in Flipkart to clear the mango stocks in the next few weeks of peak season. 

The Horticulture Department is set to enter into an agreement with the homegrown online retailer at an event to be held on Tuesday. Officials said consumers can book their favourite variety of mango on the same day that the agreement is signed.

 “This is a 45-day pilot project which will help the growers as we enter the peak production season of mango. The farmer producer organisations (FPOs) in Karnataka will help connect the farmers with Flipkart, which has come forward to work with us during the time of crisis,” said Secretary for Agriculture and Horticulture Rajender Kumar Kataria.

He said the department had been trying to open new sales channels for the Karnataka Mango Development And Marketing Board. Over the last one month, the board sold 67 tonnes of mango through India Post, which delivered 22,300 boxes to the doorsteps of the consumers.

“The biggest positive turn was from citizens as we managed to sell 110 tonnes of mango through Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs). We will continue the programme in the coming days,” Kataria said.

 The department has stated that 2020 is an off-year for mango due to low flowering with total production expected to be around 8-9 lakh tonnes instead of the normal output of 12-14 lakh tonnes. However, as the lockdown rules restricted market transactions, officials had to find new ways to help farmers clear their stock.

The Flipkart route is expected to help the Mango Board, particularly in clearing the Alphonso mangoes. “Over the last one month, an estimated 20% of the total Alphonso output has arrived in the market. The Alphonso’s peak season has begun now with 45% of the produce expected to hit the market,” Kataria said. 

Officials expect the online retailer to bring more customers for the Alphonso, considered to be the expensive variety of mango, as the pandemic has made it difficult to export to other states and countries.

The department, however, will not decide the commission to be given to Flipkart. “Usually, the company charges about 7% to 8% of the product value as commission charges. However, we are told that 2% to 3% may be charged for FPOs. We hope this will benefit the farmers,” an official said.

In a release issued after signing of the Memorandum of Agreement with the Karnataka government on Tuesday, Flipkart said it will provide training and capacity building to persons involved in the scheme on how to use the app and other user interfaces. Along with the Mango Board, Indian Post Offices will function as the last mile delivery operations partners during this season.

It said consumers can place orders for several varieties of mangoes including Alphonso, Badami, Apoos, Banganpalli, Kesar, Neelam, Himam Pasand, Sendur and Mallika, in batches of 3 kg.

Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart Group, said, “These are challenging times for farmers and small business owners across the country, and we are pleased to bring together ecosystem partnerships which benefit larger sections of society.”

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