Firstly, it is an eye-opener to the public that the practice of artificially ripening mangoes is rampant in the trader community and secondly, it is to create awareness among the farmers on naturally ripening the fruit using ethylene to offer ‘non-toxic’ produce to the customers. Mango growers from Chittoor, Nellore, Anantapur, Kadapa and Prakasam districts converged at Lalithakala Pranganam at the Municipal Corporation of Tirupati (MCT) compound for the five-day “Carbide-free mango mela” that began on Wednesday. Organised by the Department of Horticulture, the event showcases the range of mangoes available in the Rayalaseema districts.
The greenish fruit on display at the 20 stalls appear semi-ripe, but they are sweet and healthy too, claim the farmer-turned-sellers. There are 12 mouth-watering varieties like Banganapalli, Khadar, Pullura, Neelam, Benishan, Dil Pasand, Reddy Pasand and Rasaalu, while more are expected to arrive by Thursday. “We have provided all facilities to enable the farmer sell up to two tonnes of mangoes a day,” explained Deputy Director (Horticulture) M.K.V. Srinivasulu. It is true that the absence of rains throughout the year and the untimely thunderstorm during the flowering and fruition stages played triple havoc on the farmers.