Despite being an ‘on year’ for mango crop, mango mela, which brings different varieties of the ‘king of fruits’ on one platform, is not happening in Mysore this year. The reason: low crop yield.
Though officials of the Horticulture Department here were keen on holding the mela for the second consecutive year, not many growers have come forward to participate in it in view of “not very encouraging” harvest.
The first mango mela held in Mysore in June last year was a hit. People thronged the mela to buy organically grown and naturally ripened mangoes. In spite of 2012 being an ‘off year’ for the crop, the three-day mela made business of about Rs. 40 lakh (based on the data collected by the department from growers).
The demand was so high that there was a shortage of mangoes on the second day of the mela. According to sources in the department, growers had said they would take part in the mela in 2013 following a “reasonably good” response from the public.
The growers had also shown interest in establishing a growers’ forum to get maximum returns for their produce by keeping middlemen or commission agents at bay. But, nothing of that sort has happened.
“Though 2013 is an ‘on year’ for the crop, untimely flowering because of various factors, including lack of moisture, has resulted in low yield in Mysore district. Even the quality of fruits has taken a beating,” a source told The Hindu.
Mango melas planned in other districts, except Bangalore, were also likely to be cancelled this year, sources said.
Although Mysore is not a prominent mango growing district, when compared with districts such as Kolar, Chickballapur and Ramanagaram, the area under mango cultivation has been increasing every year because of suitable climatic conditions. Mango is cultivated on over 4,000 hectares of land in Mysore district. Bilikere, a hobli on the Mysore-Hunsur road, is one of the places where export-quality mangoes are cultivated. Alphonso, which fetches the highest returns among all varieties of the fruit, is cultivated in this region. The alphonso variety is also grown in H.D. Kote taluk, which is the largest mango growing taluk in the district.
Mangoes arrive to Mysore markets from Nanjangud, Hunsur, K.R. Nagar and H.D. Kote taluks; Gundlupet in Chamarajanagar district, and Channapatna in Ramanagaram district.
Meanwhile, the ripening chamber set up by the Horticultural Producers’ Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society Ltd. at its distribution centre near the city bus-stand here has been standardised for ripening mangoes. The 10-tonne capacity chamber was set up at a cost of Rs. 10 lakh and was primarily used only for the ripening bananas. “But, last year, it was standardised for ripening mangoes, which can be ripened in three to four days,” a department official told The Hindu.