It’s a formidable sight every night on both sides of the road at the fruit market in Kothapet. Scores of trucks laden with the favourite fruit of the season wait patiently to be emptied into the market, so that the next day, city can indulge itself not only digging into the luscious king of fruits, but also pickle it for the days when it disappears from the market.
Another piece of good news: compared with last year, arrival of mango has nearly doubled in quantity when last heard. On May 5, the quantity of ‘Benishan’ variety stood at 1,304 tonnes, as against the 728 tonnes on the same date last year, while ‘Totapuri’ variety grew from 420 tonnes to 874 tonnes.
This is in contrast with last month, when ‘Benishan’ arrivals at 9,742 tonnes were just over half of the previous year’s at 18,187 tonnes during the whole month, and arrivals of ‘Totapuri’ were also fewer.
According to supervisor, K. Soma Narsaiah, arrivals have increased so high that the queue of trucks begins at 10 p.m. every day, and ends only post-noon next day. About 500 to 700 vehicles, whether light or heavy, are entering the portals of the market on any average day.
Also arriving into the market are varieties such as ‘Himayat, Rasalu, Jahangir, Dasheri, Kesar, Cheruku Rasalu, Goa, Hapus, Rumal, Badaam, Kobbari Mamidi, Chinna Rasalu, Chausa, Naati, Langda’, and ‘Alphons’. However, most are coming in smaller quantities as of now.
However, there is not much variation in prices, which are largely fluctuating between Rs.12,000 and Rs.14,500 per tonne for ‘Benishan’ on average, and Rs.6,000 and Rs.7,000 for ‘Totapuri’.
“Nowadays, all these varieties are grown in areas closer to the city. Mango cultivation has taken a beating in traditional hubs due to growing real estate demand,” says B.Ramesh, a retailer had set shop inside the wholesale market. The fruit is sourced from Anantapur, Mahabubnagar, Krishna and Nalgonda districts also.
Most in demand during this season, however, are the pickle varieties, namely ‘Jalal’, ‘Tella Gulabeelu’, and ‘Tukbi’. Lined outside the market yard are scores of retailers, busily selling these varieties, and also cutting them and drying them for customers. Prices vary between Rs.5 and Rs.25 per mango, depending on the variety, with cutting costs charged separately.
“They are charging Rs.3 per mango for slicing, which is ridiculous because some varieties are smaller than others. But this is their chance. We cannot do without mango pickle for entire year, so we oblige,” smiles B.Chandrakala, a home maker, while on bargain.