Pulp units in Krishnagiri to pay ₹25/kg for mangoes from farmers

Tripartite meeting held at the Krishnagiri Colllectorate on Friday.

Tripartite meeting held at the Krishnagiri Colllectorate on Friday. | Photo Credit: N. BASHKARAN

 Mango growers will receive ₹25 per kg from the pulp industry in the district.

 It would be unfair to keep the mango growers in waiting till the pulp industry got a sense of demand for pulp before it decided to pay remunerative prices for growers, concluded the tri-partite meeting between the mango growers, pulp factory owners, and the district administration held at the Collectorate on Friday.  

The decision was hailed as a huge relief that has come in years for the mango growers here. The tri-partite meeting presided over by Collector V. Jayachandra Bhanu Reddy alongside Krishnagiri MP A. Chellakumar, witnessed an outcome for the first time in years, opined the farmers. 

The mango pulp industry was asked to pay up ₹25 per kg for mango growers and the Collector would write to the government for compensation for mango growers hit by severe disease infestation of the crop that cut down produce by 75% this year.

Pulp industry’s concerns

Speaking at the meeting, Madhavan, Mango Pulp Manufacturers Association said, the pulp industry was going through a tough phase with the international market looking to other markets with cheaper rates for pulp. 

Given the realities, where the Indian pulp industry was facing competition from South American pulp, the pulp industry was unable to promise better prices even while the industry was aware of the hardships of the mango growers, said Mr. Madhavan.

According to him, while the district’s pulp units required over 4.5 lakh tonne mangoes, as of date, only 50,000 tonnes were available for the pulp units, which cannot operate on full capacity without the produce. However, the mango production was vastly affected by the insect infestation on crops and even the healthy produce was hit by the recent gale.

In its wake, the quality of mangoes was poor, and the quality of pulp from the mangoes cannot be guaranteed, the pulp industry representatives stated.  Given the uncertainty, the industry wanted the farmers to wait it out for the right price.

Farmers’ contention

The contention of the farmers has been that the pulp industry acted as a cartel refusing fair prices for the local produce. Each season, mango growers had little choice but to sell mangoes at a set price by the industry, which had the alternative of sourcing mangoes from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. 

“This had hurt our bargaining capacity pushing us to sell our produce at low prices,” said K.M. Soundararajan, coordinator, District Mango Growers’ Association.

According to him, the prices remained less remunerative even during years of poor harvest, where low supply and high demand should ideally work in favour of the farmers fetching better prices.  “Even during low harvest years like this season, we are only paid ₹15 to ₹17 per kg.”

Krishnagiri MP’s intervention

However, the intervention of Krishnagiri MP A. Chellakumar urging the industry to pay fair price to farmers yielded results. 

“The MP insisted that the pulp industry pay instead of asking the farmers to wait for the industry to get their orders by the end of the season. “By then the season would be over, he told them,” said Mr. Soundararajan.

“For the first time, there was a tangible outcome from a tri-partite meeting, where the industry was asked to immediately pass resolution and pay us ₹25 per kg,” says Mr. Soundarajan. “In addition, the Collector would write to the government for a compensation of ₹25,000 per ha for mango growers for infestation of the crops.”

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2022 9:26:19 pm |