Traders now pin hopes on Srirama Navami for spurt in sales. About a decade ago, it used to be around 15 to 20 tonnes but now it is one-fourth of that, says trader Korukonda Butchiraju of Anakapalle.

With other production centres emerging and change in consumer preferences, demand at the Anakapalle jaggery market has been steady over the last few years and the festive season so far has not seen any spurt.

The upcountry demand, particularly from Krishna, Guntur and Khammam districts, has not seen any increase and during the last two, three years it is the same around Ugadi, say market sources.

About a decade ago, it used to be around 15 to 20 tonnes but now it is one-fourth of that, says trader Korukonda Butchiraju of Anakapalle.

Of the quantity so far sent, half goes towards regular consumption and the remaining for making the sweet syrup “panakam” mixing jiggery with water and distributed at Srirama Navami pandals.

“We expect the Srirama Navami demand to pick up once the market opens after the festival on Tuesday,” he says.

The Anakapalle market, one of the biggest in the country with a turnover of Rs.150 crore, had not seen the demand going up during the recent Sammakka-Sarakka festival in Warangal district. The emergence of a market near Nanded catered to the demand there.

Organic product

To attract the health conscious among the middle and upper middle class, supermarkets are showcasing organic jaggery. With jaggery being a major ingredient balancing the bitter taste of neem flower in ‘Ugadi patchadi’, buying it for the festival is a must in Telugu families.

The price of the organic jaggery is quite high. A Bangalore company priced it at more than Rs.65 for half a kg. The regular jaggery comes at around Rs.54 a kg.

“Comparatively, the best of the jaggery made in these parts comes at Rs. 400 for 10 kg,” says Mr. Butchiraju.