There seems to be no single barometer to gauge the satisfaction level of the mango farmers of Rayalaseema with respect to the prices prevailing in the market. While some are satisfied with the price band, some are not at all pleased.

Mango growers from Chittoor, Nellore, Anantapur, Kadapa and Prakasam districts, who have converged here for the five-day ‘Carbide-free mango mela’ currently under way at MCT Nehru Lalitakala Pranganam, have different stories to narrate.

“Our ‘Rayachoti Benishan’ is not only a big-sized variety, but also the sweetest among all with a lot of pulp. But the lack of rains and the hailstorm last month played spoilsport,” says Mallikarjuna Reddy of Chinnamandem village in Kadapa district.

On the other hand, Pullaiah of Prakasam district selling ‘Pedda Rasaalu’ and ‘Cheruku Rasaalu’ varieties claims that his mangoes are the sweetest.

The general refrain among many farmers is that the prices this year are a let-down. But Rosaiah, the farmer-turned-seller from Garladinne in Anantapur district has a different tale to narrate.

“We have better prices this year in Anantapuram and Guntakal markets. However, we could not say ‘no’ to our (horticulture) officials and hence came here for the expo, only to sell the fruits at a much lesser price,” was his lament.

Agreed, carbide is toxic. But then what is the alternative? “Ethylene gas can ripen the mangoes naturally and we have tailor-made solutions for warehouses, wholesalers, transporters and even small-time traders,” explained R. Ravi Verma, the dealer for Chemtron Science Lab, Navi Mumbai.

In fact, there is a stall at the expo to explain to the farmers the ways of optimally using ethylene gas.

Nevertheless, the common public thronging the stalls are enthusiastically buying the several varieties on display-cum-sale.