Mango sellers blame drought and demonetisation for this season’s low sales.

50 varieties of mango on this Bengaluru street but hardly anyone wants to buy them
news Mango mela Thursday, May 04, 2017 - 13:49

Summer is here and that means it's mango season. But in the wake of reports of poor business for mango sellers, shops that once bustled with customers looking for the fruit are now facing losses.

At Bengaluru’s mango mela on Jayamahal Road, vendors told The News Minute that they are trying to boost mango sales by selling them for as cheap as Rs 30-40 for half a kilogram.

But why are these shops seeing a drop in sales?

Drought, which caused low production of fruits and crops, coupled with last year’s nationwide demonetisation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, has led to unstable conditions for small business, some vendors said.

“The man who use to take 10kg of fruit earlier, now is coming to buy 1kg saying he doesn’t have money. The business has gone down,” said Abdul Rehman, a vendor at the mela. “Only time people buy these fruit is in the weekend. But the rest of the time I just clean and hardly one customer or two come to buy.”

“Modi’s decision of replacing currency has impacted all small businesses. People come with big notes and are buying fruits worth Rs 50. How am I supposed to provide them with change? It shoots my blood pressure,” said Rehman, who sells 40 varieties of mangoes in his stall.

A similar drop in the mango sale was reportedly seen in Kerala and Maharashtra. The cash crunch was one common reason and questions over the quality of mangoes in open markets was another concern.

Mango sellers throughout the stretch of the one-kilometre mela told the same story. One vendor said that even though they smile and try coax passers-by to purchase mangoes, they are struggling. Selling fruits year-round is the only job for many and the lack of sales is drying up their source of income.  

The Bengaluru mela, which is celebrating is forty-seventh year, attracts farmers from different states in an effort to earn cash from fruit sales. From April to June, the grand mela offers nearly 50 varieties of mango, including Alphonso, Badami, Kesar, Dasheri, Mulgoba, Neelam, Raspuri and Banganapalli.

“I work only 3 to 4 months as a mango seller. Later, I work as a farmer,” said Munsami. While he has been coming to this event for almost 30 years to earn money, the mela has been a disappointment for him too, he said.

Yesu, another vendor, said that though the prices of mango in the market are soaring and the mela sells the fruit at a much cheaper rate, no one is buying them.

“Due to drought, we are at a huge loss. Even now, without rain we’re selling mangoes at Rs 30-40. In the market the prices are soaring, but here no one pays that much,” he said.

Despite the huge variety of mangoes offered, profits are scarce. Rehman explained that due to the short shelf life of the fruit, it is not possible for them to preserve it. Thus, they have to throw away the mangoes and give money to the collector to take the rotten fruit.

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