Updated: April 16, 2021 8:27:27 am
With rising Covid-19 cases in the state, uncertainty looms large among Karnataka’s mango growers over the selling and export of the fruit, though the state government has stepped in with an online sale portal for Bengaluru.
Karnataka is among the top mango growers in India, cultivating the crop on 1.68 lakh hectares in 16 districts, such as Bengaluru Rural, Kolar, Chikkaballapura, Dharwad and Ramanagara.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Chikka Byregowda, a member of Ramanagara Mango Growers Association, said, “Compared with last year, we have had a better crop this time, which we have already started harvesting and sending to markets in Bengaluru and other cities. Though transportation has not been a problem, if Covid cases continue to increase, we may face a drop in demand this year too.”
Sindhura mangoes, which are grown in Ramanagara district, 60 kilometre from Bengaluru, have good demand in the domestic market and are also exported to other countries. “Last year, due to the pandemic, several countries had scrapped the import of mangoes. This year, we had expected the mangoes would be exported, but unfortunately, the second wave has put that under a cloud,” he said.
According to farmers and the Mango Development and Marketing Corporation, in the next two weeks, mangoes grown in Chikkaballapura and Kolar will be entering the markets. Karnataka grows Badami, Mallika, Neelam, Malgova, Kalapad, Sindhura, Alphanso, Totapuri and other varieties of mangoes.
According to officials, exports were at their lowest last year, at an estimated 1,000 tonne against the normal 50,000 tonne due to Covid-19. But they said farmers still managed to get good prices due to the Centre approving inter-state sales.
According to officials, US, UK, Canada, the Gulf countries and Netherlands are among the main mango importers from Karnataka.
Government starts selling mangoes online
The Karnataka State Development and Marketing Corporation Limited Thursday launched an online portal, http://www.karsirimangoes.karnataka.gov.in, to help farmers.
The corporation, in association with India Post, will arrange for the mangoes to be picked up from the farm and sent to customers’ homes in Bengaluru. According to the corporation, orders are accepted at https://karsirimangoes.karnataka.gov.in or through its mobile app. Online payments are accepted. Last year too, the corporation had to sell mangoes online through a similar initiative.
CG Nagaraj, managing director of the corporation, said, “To improve the socio-economic situation of mango growers amid of the second wave of Covid-19, we have developed the business-to-consumer portal to provide varieties of mangoes online for consumers.”
Once customers place the order, a message is sent to the farm owner, who then brings the order to the General Post Office. There is a separate facility to store mangoes here, and they are sent in a special vehicle from the post office to customers every Tuesday and Friday, according to officials.
‘Yield down in some districts’
Meanwhile, the corporation said yield has gone down in some districts due to unseasonal rainfall and high pest and diseases incidence.
Nagaraj said, “Adverse weather conditions, unseasonal rainfall and high pest and disease cases increased the flower drop, and reduced the yield.”
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