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This time,Maha-Orange fest fails to click

Three days into the Pune Maha-Orange festival,poor response has forced three growers to send oranges back to Nagpur.

Written by Ranjani Raghavan | Pune |
March 1, 2010 11:39:30 pm

Three days into the Pune Maha-Orange festival,poor response has forced three growers to send oranges back to Nagpur. To get more time to sell their produce,some growers are pushing for a three-day extension of the fest.

“On Saturday night,three growers sent a truck back to Nagpur. We sent another to Gultekdi market,” said Ashol Babhulkar from Katol in Nagpur,who set up a stall on Bal Gandharva Rangmandir premises.

Growers blame the state marketing department for not doing enough to promote the event. The fest,inaugurated on Friday,is a platform floated by the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) to enable direct sale to consumers,thus avoiding traders’ cuts. Consumers also benefit by getting fruits at wholesale rates. The MSAMB organises such festivals for other produce like mango,grapes,raisins and cashew.

This is the second Maha-Orange fest in Pune. The last was two years ago,when growers had to wrap up stalls two days before it ended as they had sold their stock. “At the time,we sold everything. This time it’s the opposite. Lack of pre-event publicity hurt us. The MSAMB has not done its job,” said Vivek Atkre,a grower. “Though Saturday and Sunday were holidays,there were few customers. Most stumbled upon the festival by chance,” he said.

The MSAMB feels otherwise. “We placed advertisements in newspapers and promoted the event. If people did not come on Friday and Saturday,it was because of the budget and the cricket match,” said Subash Ghule,manager,MSAMB. Ghule said high prices was another reason. “On the first day,it was Rs 80-Rs 100 a dozen. This put off many consumers. We had to tell growers to reduce prices. Now they are selling at Rs 40-60 a dozen,” Ghule said.

Growers,meanwhile,hope the festivals coming up in Nashik,Mumbai and Delhi are organised better.

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