Andhra Pradesh

Courtesy COVID, lemon and amla sell like hotcakes

A lemon vendor gets ready for early closure of his business at a market at Nagari in Chittoor district on Wednesday.  

The trade of lemon and amla (Indian gooseberry) in Chittoor district received a major boost domestically in the past couple of months, while arrivals from Tenali market have been dwindling, owing to heavy demand for the produce, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chittoor district, with COVID-19 hospitals at Tirupati, Chittoor, Kuppam and Madanapalle, is witnessing heavy demand for the citrus fruits for three months, with the latest tally inching close to the 20,000-mark and 200 casualties.

Generally, sale of lemon remains stable in Chittoor between May and June, and in winter months due to the village festivals, Karthika month and Ayyappa deeksha. Except for a sizeable demand for pickle-making and from catering units, these citrus fruits find little scope for raw consumption. However, COVID-19 outbreak has generated a great demand for them.

Small traders in Chittoor procure lemon from Kadapa and Nellore districts. The bulk stocks to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are directly sent from Tenali market, with small arrivals in Chittoor district.

Officials in the Horticulture Department observed that huge demand for lemon has led to considerable fall in the arrivals in Chittoor from other districts. This has turned into a golden opportunity for local farmers raising lemon crops, though in very negligible stretches. The small-sized fruit is now selling like hotcakes.

“Before COVID-19 pandemic, I used to supply the produce to local traders in Srikalahasti, Tirupati, Satyavedu and Chittoor in small quantities and with negligible profits. Since April, the demand is growing from all over the district. I am also sending three bags a week to Chennai,” said Prabhakar Naidu, a lemon farmer in B.N. Kandriga mandal.

Seshagiri, a native of Srikalahasti, who procures lemon stocks from Gudur and Venkatagiri, said that unlike the previous years, the yields this year remained good thanks to congenial climatic conditions. “Because of bumper crop, the high demand is met everywhere,” he said.

Additional Director (Marketing) P. Gopi told The Hindu that the lemon and amla plantations were in very small stretches in Chittoor. “Previously not cared for, now they are doing brisk trade. The amla stocks are now exported to various parts of Tamil Nadu. This is something unusual for the citrus fruit here,” the official said.

Meanwhile, amla, due to its high concentration of C-vitamin, is only to be found in very less quantities at a few places in the eastern mandals, while bulk stocks are being sent to neighboring States. “A kg of amla sold at ₹60 a kg last year is now selling at double the price in Chittoor district, while its three times the cost in Chennai,” a trader from KVB Puram mandal said.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 6:49:16 PM |

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