Rising mercury sends people scurrying to juice vendors. The first quality produce finds its way to niche markets in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi.

Thanks to increased awareness on health benefits of sweet lime, the local market is witnessing heavy arrivals of the citrus fruit, mostly from the western parts of Prakasam district.

The rising mercury sends people scurrying to the sweet lime juice vendors, as the wonder fruit helps fight dehydration, the most common health problem that surfaces in summer.

Niche market

“The first quality produce finds its way to niche markets in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi and only the next quality fruits arrive here,” Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham (APRS) State leader N. Ranga Rao points out.

“The popular Bathai pandu juice is a healthy substitute for carbonated drinks, as it provides essential vitamins and minerals,” says Indian Medical Association Ongole chapter treasurer G. Panidhar.

“This fabulous fruit is most preferable after tiring work in summer. The fruit works wonders for those afflicted by sunstroke,” says noted paediatrician K. Suneel Kumar Reddy, who goes on to add, “It has anti-cancer properties and improves immunity.”

With the summer expected to be harsher this year, price of the popular Bathai pandu is likely to go up to Rs. 25,000 per tonne from the existing Rs. 17,000 per tonne in the wholesale market, says G. Obul Reddy, a farmer from Chandrasekharapuram near Kanigiri.

“The district, which is most-suited for orchards, produces on an average 1.32 lakh tonnes of sweet lime, cultivating it in over 11,000 hectares,” says Horticulture Department Assistant Director Jennamma.