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Updated: May 7, 2012 16:21 IST

Carbide-free mango sale picks up

Special Correspondent
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Mangoes ripened using traditional methods with out calcium carbide on sale at Rythu Bazaar at Swaraj Maidan in Vijayawada. Photo: Raju V.
The Hindu
Mangoes ripened using traditional methods with out calcium carbide on sale at Rythu Bazaar at Swaraj Maidan in Vijayawada. Photo: Raju V.

The Agriculture and Cooperative Department has issued an order forming district level committees with Joint Collectors as the chairpersons to prevent usage of the carcinogenic calcium carbide for the ripening of fruits.

With the demand for carbide-free mangoes growing, mango farmers prefer to ripen the fruit using traditional means. The so-called carbide-free mangoes that are being ripened by putting them in hay are available to mango lovers locally at a premium.

Farmers are selling mangoes which they claim were ripened without carbide at the Rythu Bazaar.

The Agriculture and Cooperative Department has issued an order forming district level committees with Joint Collectors as the chairpersons to prevent usage of the carcinogenic calcium carbide for the ripening of fruits.

The gazetted food inspector belonging to the medical and health department, assistant director of marketing, Municipal Commissioner, district medical and health officer, district panchayat officer, deputy director of horticulture and regional transport officer are members of the committee constituted to curb the use of calcium carbide.

Calcium carbide is used extensively to ripen mango. The fruit is being harvested even before it was mature so that it could be transported to far away places. The raw fruit is being loaded into trucks. Packets of calcium carbide are being put amongst the mangoes so the fruit is ripened in transit.

The Horticulture Department in a special drive is giving special incentives to small and marginal farmers for ripening of their fruit using ethylene gas. The mangoes that are plucked with the stalk using special harvesters and are subsequently de-sapped and ripened in ethylene ripening chambers are being sold at some selected centres.

Assistant Director Horticulture R.Rama Mohan said five tonnes that were meant to be sent to Hyderabad were retained for sale in the Swaraj Maidan for the benefit of mango lovers in the city at the request of Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal.

The fruit was packed in corrugated cardboard boxed and sold through retail outlets.

However, the sale of ethylene ripened mango has been temporarily suspended for want of fruit.

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