Markets in the city seem to have only one colour these days — yellow. And we’re not making any Chennai Super Kings puns! A bountiful harvest has ensured that the city is flooded with the king of fruits. What’s more, dealers say the price of the mango might actually dip further in the next two weeks. According to traders in the Anna fruit market at Koyambedu, mango arrivals picked up sharply over the last week. “At the peak of the season, we get about 200 tonnes of mango on a daily basis. This usually happens in mid-May. But this year we are close to that number in April,” says a wholesale dealer.
These traders say that the enormous supply has had an effect on price. “Last year, we had the worst season due to the Thane cyclone. The price shot up by 30 to 40 per cent. But this year it has dropped to normal levels, “ says Thyagarajan, a fruit merchant.
This abundant supply has seen many temporary fruit stalls come up in the city that sell mangoes exclusively. In Parrys, a hub for anyone looking for dearer varieties such as Alphonso, the pavement has been taken over by mangoes.
Many of these traders are not usually involved in fruit-selling at other times. Vigneshwaran, who has put up a temporary shop opposite the High Court, says he shifts between crackers and mangoes, depending on the season. “This business is profitable only during the season. By August I begin my work for the cracker shop. Last year I managed to get a stall at Island grounds,” he says. He makes about `1 lakh rupees during the mango season by supplying restaurants in addition to retail sales.
There are those who come from the outskirts to the city in bullock carts to sell the fruit. Nagappan who, along with his son-in-law, came from Tambaram says the wholesale price in markets outside the city is much lower. “We can make Rs 5 off a kilogram if we procure it from places like Chengelpet and Tambaram. Also, in Koyambedu bargaining is impossible given the rush of traders,” says Nagappan.