A meeting between mango farmers and the pulp industry moderated by Collector Deepak Jacob concluded here on Friday with an “advice” to the industry to fix the starting price for mangoes at Rs. 25 per kg with an assured weekly increase leading up to Rs. 60 in July, which would be the close of the season.
The meeting on the heels of widespread disease affecting the mango crop impacting over 50% of produce in the mango growing blocks witnessed farmers levelling allegations against the pulp industry of profiteering and the pulp units claiming production costs and demand and supply factors as determining the prices.
Hearing both sides, the Collector urged the industry to fix the price at Rs. 25 per kg and progressively increase it to Rs. 40 by end of this month and finally to Rs. 60 in the first week of July, which will ring in the close of the season.
The pulp manufacturers were asked to announce daily prices along with the price for the following day to help farmers make informed choices.
However, the mango farmers were unenthused by the conclusion.
K.M. Soundararajan, co-ordinator of Krishnagiri Mango Farmers’ Association said, the starting price of Rs. 25 was the same as last year and the primary demand was to have a starting price at Rs. 30 per kg.
He alleged that the pulp industry has been having its way with the prices during the last decade and no resolution has come out of such meetings.
The Collector, responding to the allegation, said, in the absence of a G.O. governing prices, no direction issued to the industry. However, he directed the industry to ensure that they procure the local mangoes completely.
According to the pulp industry representatives, the price is determined by the demand and supply. “The manufacturers in Delhi and Mumbai, who are the exporters place order and only when they give us the ‘green signal’ for an asking price, we can buy it at that price,” said Mr. Madhavan, president of the Pulp Manufacturers’ Association.
As of Friday, the price per kg was Rs. 19 and it was higher than the asking price in Vijayawada on the given day, he said.
Mr. Madhavan, on the Collector’s appeal, suggested that the farmers harvest the produce in a staggered manner instead of bulk harvest in the beginning. The price of the fruits go up week after week, when the fruits stop coming and farmers can collect good prices on a weekly basis, he said.
The tripartite meeting was preceded by several rounds of protests and consultations by the mango farmers demanding a price of Rs. 50 per kg on the grounds that last year, the pulp industry had bought mangoes at prices as high as Rs. 70 and above.