HYDERABAD: The King of Fruits’ tryst with Hyderabad is set to continue into the second year running, with the statewide Mango Mela, organised by the Deparment of Horticulture in association with the Economic Committe of Exhibition Society, to be held here at the Nampally exhibition grounds from April 14 to May 13.
And while the first edition last year was all about creating improved market access for the mango farmers in the state, this year’s edition will see the Horticulture Department going all out to encourage ethylene ripening technique as a safe and better quality technique to the traditional Calcium Carbide (Cac) ripening technology.
“CaC ripened mangoes today flood the market. But the catalyst is carcinogenic and not very healthy. By showcasing the natural taste and improved quality of ethylene ripened (non-Carbide) mangoes through the Mango Mela, we expect to create awareness and encourage more farmers to change over to the safer option at hand”, said Dr M Jaganmohan, Joint Commissioner, Horticulture Department.
According to him, the horticulture department has already set up many ethylene ripening chambers across the state and a few farmers already market this product instead of going for the Cac ripened varieties.
As far as price is concerned, the ethylene ripened varieties are slightly costlier. Also they take close to two days to ripen, while the Cac varieties ripen fast and are cheaper, but as Hari Prasad, Assistant Director with the department, mentioned, “Last year we had kept such ripened mangoes in a few stalls. The people who visited the Mela couldn’t stop gushing about the taste of those mangoes. Ethylene ripened mangoes serve the purpose of fruits, that of being truly healthy.”
He also mentioned that close to 40% banana growers in the state had switched over to the ethylene technology for the fruit and the department was trying to make even the mango growers to go the banana way.
Three Phase Mela
Close to 15 different varieties of mangoes will be showcased in over 40 stalls set up by individual farmers and Mango Growers’ Association. Efforts are also being made to rope in farmers from the other states. The 30-day schedule has been divided into three 10-day phases, keeping in mind the different ripening period of mangoes grown in various parts of the state. “In the first 10 days, the coastal districts will be provided stalls, since their time of flowering will commence then. Subsequently, mangoes grown in the Rayalaseema and Telangana regions will be exhibited. Stalls are free and not just mango farmers, but also equipment manufacturers will be provided stalls free of cost”, said Hari Prasad.
The department expects close to 40 MT worth of daily sale of different varieties of mango. Currently, Andhra Pradesh produces 33.63 lakh tonnes of mangoes over 3.91 lakh hectares of farm area.