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.
Faced with the uncertainty of price fixation, the farmers are a worried lot about the unexpected turns the price could take in the coming days. In the words of the Mines and Geology Minister Galla Arunakumari, who inaugurated the fair, “the mangoes are set to taste sour this year.” Herself a mango grower and owner of a large-scale fruit processing unit, the Minister regretted that the nature failed the farmers yet again.
The ‘Mela’, which is meant to be a major intervention to better the lives of farmers, would have added greater value, had the officials involved more farmers in the event.
Additional Joint Collector P. Venkatasubba Reddy hoped that not only the denizens, but also the pilgrims visiting the temple city would benefit from the ‘Mela’.
‘Carbide-free mango mela’ held to create awareness among farmers on ripening the fruit naturally