BENGALURU: Meet the new-age well-educated women mango farmers who don’t just go to the field, but involve themselves in every step of the process till the king of fruits reaches customers.
Devanahalli resident Aruna Anjanappa, who hails from a family of farmers from Hosakote, started getting a first-hand experience of mango farming when she got married to Anjanappa, a civil engineer-turned-farmer, 19 years ago. The couple –Aruna holds a BSc in computer science – owns 40 acres of land in Tumakuru. “I initially used to go to the farm to help my husband,” said Aruna, who is among the farmers currently visiting the city to take part in the annual Mango Mela to be held at Lalbagh from May 30 to June 24.
In the last six years, Aruna has started taking care of marketing. The family grows many varieties of mangoes, including Alphonso, Kesar and Mallika. “We harvested them a month back, and since then I have been busy with packaging and marketing,” she told CE, adding that their mangoes are sold at many locations in the city, including Metro stations, Hopcoms outlets, and the airport. She is also part of the online sale service of Karnataka Mango Development Corporation, where customers order online and a message is sent to the farmer, who has to deliver it to the General Post Office in Bengaluru from where it is dispatched to the customer’s doorstep. “I have to monitor mangoes plucked from the farm, and
deliver them to our home, where we do the packing. I travel to Bengaluru every day to deliver the boxes to GPO,’’ she said.
At the farm, in absence of sufficient rain, they have adopted a novel irrigation method. “We have set up a tap system, and water from a borewell is connected to these taps. It’s a network of pipes designed so that once the main tap is opened, at least 100 trees get water,” said Aruna, adding that like any other farmers, the biggest challenge they face is labour problems.
Like Aruna, Jalajakshi from Bengaluru too got a hands-on experience in farming when she married Bhaghav, a software engineer. She holds a post-graduate degree in biochemistry and was planning to pursue her PhD when she got married. Her in-laws own 12 acres of land at Doddaballapura, where they earlier grew vegetables and fruits. Water scarcity forced them to opt for mangoes Jalajakshi travels frequently to their farm from their house in Yelahanka.
Jalajakshi finds marketing to be the biggest challenge. She does packaging at their home along with her mother-in-law. “After we get fruits, we weigh them and pack in boxes. I am now selling mangoes through social media, WhatsApp and stalls I put up near malls,’’ she said. Her husband works at Whitefield, and delivers fruits to customers on his way to office or back.