In a pickle: Lockdown hits procurement and processing of Midi Maavu

Rural labourers have been unable to harvest the tender mango used in pickles

May 04, 2020 11:05 pm | Updated 11:05 pm IST

Workers sorting tender mango at a pickle factory in Shiralakoppa of Shivamogga district.

Workers sorting tender mango at a pickle factory in Shiralakoppa of Shivamogga district.

The lockdown has adversely affected procurement and processing at industries that prepare pickle using Midi Maavu , the tender variety of mango in Malnad and coastal districts known for their aroma, brittleness and taste.

Midi Maavu are wild and riverine varieties of mango used for preparation of pickle. Appe Huli , a thin gravy is another mouth-watering preparation from this tender mango. The banks of Sharavathi, Netravathi, Aghanashini, Kumudvathi, and Varada rivers are dotted with Midi Maavu trees. Even, the rural roads in Malnad region are lined by these trees.

Jeerige Appe, Mente Appe, Adderi Jeerige, Anantha Bhattana Appe Midi, Bolwar Kukku, Mundappa are some of the popular varieties. The nomenclature is based on the taste, size, the thickness of the pulp, the place where they are grown, and some are also named after the breeders.

Former Chief Ministers, the late Ramakrishna Hegde and the late S. Bangarappa, were admirers of the pickles made from the Anantha Bhattana Appe Midi variety from Aghanashini river bank. Mr. Bangarappa during his tenure as MP had planted a sapling of Anantha Bhattana Appe Midi at the garden of his official residence in New Delhi.

The admirers of Appe Midi attribute the unique taste and aroma to the river water and the moist soil on its bank.

Source of income

The landless agriculture labours harvest these tender mangoes and sell them to pickle factories. It is a source of income for them in summer, off-season for agriculture activities. This year, the price per kilo was around ₹300.

The mangoes are harvested from March first week to May first week. Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Uttara Kannada districts have more than 100 units that prepare pickles from Midi Maavu . Owing to restriction on movement of people during lockdown, the rural labours refrained from harvesting the mangoes and bringing them to the market.

M.R. Satish, managing partner of Shiralakoppa-based M.N. Pickles, told The Hindu that the total procurement of Midi Maavu by his firm every year was around 120 tonne against which they were able to procure only around 20 tonne this time. There was around 85% decline in the procurement in other pickle industries also in Malnad and coastal districts this year owing to the lockdown. The pickle factories in Shivamogga district engage more than 1,500 labours during the summer season for the processing. Owing to lockdown, the pickle industries faced shortage of labour, said Rekha Ramakrishna of R.R. Pickles in Ripponpet.

The Midi Maavu pickles enjoy great demand in urban areas and the sales have plummeted this time, she said.

All the three main stakeholders — those who bring the produce to the market, the pickle industry owners, and the workers — have suffered loss owing to the lockdown, she said.

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