The 11-day Kollam Mango Fest-2013, which began at the Cantonment Maidan on Friday, is disappointing visitors.
True to this, the sale of mangoes at the fest during the first three days was too poor compared to the brisk sales seen during the maiden Kollam mango festival at the same venue in June last year.
Following fears raised about the quality of the mangoes, the Commissionerate of Food Safety (CFS) has taken a good quantity of samples from the show and sent to the CFS laboratory at Thiruvananthapuram to test whether they have been chemically ripened.
District Food Safety Officer A.K. Mini told The Hindu that samples were taken at random from the loads which arrived at the venue on Friday.
The sale of mangoes at the festival on Friday and Saturday was poor compared to the brisk sales seen during the maiden Kollam mango festival at the same venue in June last year.
Visitors said the collection of mango varieties at the show this time had belied their expectations.
There are hardly about 15 varieties on show and most of them are common varieties available with vendors in the city. Last year about 60 varieties were on show. Even the Alphonso variety considered to be the king among mangoes in missing at the festival. The number of stalls is also fewer compared to the event last year.
The absence of mango growers and traders from the neighbouring States is also conspicuous.
While last year the festival was organised by the Thiruvananthapuram-based Mango Growers Association, the on going festival has been organised by the newly constituted Kollam-based Mango Growers Association.
Visitors said that many of the varieties that became popular among the visitors during last year’s show were not to be seen this time.
They include the sakkarakatti variety from Tamil nadu which was in high demand among visitors.
Even the Mallika variety from Andhra Pradesh which fascinated visitors with its unique taste is hardly seen at the venue. A mango connoisseur who visited the show on Saturday said that some of the mango varieties displayed with their names were misleading.
He said that while there was no variety with the name Suvarnalatha, a mango with such a name is displayed there. Many of the native varieties like Kilichundan and Moovandan are not there at the show.