The bifurcation seems to have dealt a blow not only to the sentiments of citizens, but also to their taste buds. The king of fruits, the much-awaited mango, is arriving in fewer numbers than last year, and commission agents attribute it to the bifurcation issue.
According to the data available with the Gaddiannaram Agricultural Market Committee, there has been a decline of nearly 43 per cent in the amount of fruit that arrives at the city’s biggest fruit market at Kothapet.
The market has received only 16,146 boxes or 323 tonnes of fruit throughout March, as against the usual 28,227 boxes, or 565 tonnes of fruit last year. Also significant is the fact that last year’s figures had been much below the normal arrivals for the season-- about 40 to 50 tonnes per day. In contrast, the arrival as on March 31 this year is just about 21 tonnes.
“Farmers in Coastal Andhra are not interested in coming here anymore due to the bifurcation. Instead, they are exploring other States. This is especially true of big farmers, while smaller ones are coming together to bring the fruit, in expectation of higher prices,” says Mohd. Meraj, a commission agent.
Satyanarayana, a farmer from Jaggampeta mandal of East Godavari district, was among those who hired a truck in partnership.
“It’s hardly profitable. While the going rate is Rs.23 per kg in Vijayawada, here, we are not getting more than Rs.26 per kg. That additional Rs.3 will have to be adjusted with a lot of other incidentals, apart from transport,” he laments.
Another reason for the reduced arrival could be crop loss due to hailstorms in many districts. As of now, only Benishan variety is arriving in good numbers from Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar and Krishna districts, followed by Totapuri from Chittoor.
The peak season usually sees about 200 varieties of mango from other districts such as Karimnagar, East and West Godavari, Ranga Reddy, and Kurnool.
Even the rates are poised to shoot up, with a tonne of fruit priced anywhere between Rs.15,000 and Rs.70,000. Secretary of the Market Committee, K. Janardhan Reddy, expressed hope that the arrivals were only delayed this time, and the prices may come down once the quantity goes up.