Vendors say high prices of mangoes are no deterrent to fans

The city is reeling under scorching heat and the usual April showers are nowhere in sight.

As the summer sun broils one and all mercilessly, one would imagine that vendors would be reporting good returns on their investments by selling mouth-watering watermelons.

Strangely, the vendors complain business has been dull over the past fortnight. Many have also reported losses as the quality of the fruit deteriorates due to extreme heat.

Adding to their woes, many say customers have moved to mangoes, despite high prices and limited arrivals.

Farooq Ali, a roadside vendor, said: “I am hardly selling 15 plates (of watermelon) a day now. At the start of summer, business was good as I was selling around 60 plates a day.”

Price is high too

According to fruit vendors, the rate of watermelons increased by a couple of rupees a kg this year compared to last year as drought has affected the harvest. While the smaller Kiran variety is being sold for around Rs. 18 a kg this year, the big striped watermelons are around Rs. 15 a kg.

Concurring with the views of Mr. Farooq, a salesperson at the HOPCOMS outlet at Vyalikaval said that though the prices of watermelons had remained stable for most of the month, sales had declined drastically.

He also agreed that the quality of watermelons in the market was coming down. “With the arrival of mangoes, sales of grapes, watermelons and oranges, which are nearing the end of the season, have declined.”

Traders at Russell Market and Johnson Market also had a similar tale to tell. They said customers were moving to mangoes at the cost of watermelons.