Madurai

Melons make their way to Madurai

Watermelons stocked for sale near Madurai Medical College on Tuesday.

Watermelons stocked for sale near Madurai Medical College on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: S_James

Hawkers have been taking over the streets since late February

Melons from across Tamil Nadu have been making their way to the streets of Madurai and to the homes of the people of Madurai for cheap rate, say vendors.

Hawkers have been taking over the streets since late February by arranging bright green watermelons and musk melons in patterns to attract customers. The fruits are being sold in the form of juices, squashes and salads — providing a variety for customers to choose from.

Despite its all-time spike in the retail end this year, vendors like S. Suresh say that there has not been as many buyers this year. While the fruit is purchased between ₹ 15 and ₹20 based on its size at outlets, it is procured for ₹ 10 from wholesale merchants. Farmers get a meagre of ₹ 6.50 to ₹ 7.50, says R. Ramkumar, a farmer sowing organic varieties of watermelon and papaya.

K. Sakthivel, from SSP Sakthipriya Fruit Commission Agency in Mattuthavani Fruit Market, says that in 2018, fruits were sold for ₹ 10 in retail stores. “Prices have gone up but we don’t see many people coming to our stores and buying the fruits. There is better sales in the ‘chillirai shops’ at Simakkal,” he says. Sakthivel, like several other vendors, has moved from Simmakkal to the newly inaugurated fruit market for the first time this year. “This hasn’t particularly slowed down business but there is a difference in the number of customers who come and purchase loose fruits from us.”

Most of Madurai’s melon inflow comes from Tindivanam, Villupuram, Melmaruvathur and Tiruvannamalai. A special variety of watermelons from Bangalore which is small and has a pink interior. This is popular among clients too, says S. Suresh.

He adds that a variety called ‘six’ is popular among the export community. “It is elongated and the inside is usually rose coloured. All watermelons have to be consumed within 60 days of harvesting. The tropical fruit reaches the destination right on time and is cut by the 50th day. This is sold at ₹ 6 per kg,” he adds.

Other popular summer fruits include oranges, sweet lime and grapes as well, he says.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 11:58:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/melons-make-their-way-to-madurai/article26789896.ece

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