New Delhi: Mango, grapes, pomegranate and orange traders in wholesale markets across India fear heavy losses as they have already made payments to farmers but fruit supply has been disrupted.
More than 100 traders from Delhi, who get mango from South India, have given Rs 150-200 crore to farmers, said traders. Some 250 traders who buy mango from Uttar Pradesh have provided another Rs 200-250 crore as advance payment and were expected to a give a similar amount ahead of the harvest which begins in May-June, they said.
“We are worried as we have provided advance payments directly to farmers and in some cases to transporters. The money is used by growers to procure pesticide, fertilisers, packing material and hiring labour for working in the orchard,” said Amit Gidwani, a mango trader at the Azadpur mandi in Delhi.
Similarly, 60 grape traders in Azadpur have given Rs 50-70 lakh each to farmers in Maharashtra. “The grape season was in full harvest and this was the time to sell. We have cut short the supplies to half at 24 trucks of 20 tonnes per day. Still there are no major sale in the market,” said Sudhir Kumar of Om Prakash and Brothers, which trades in grapes.
Parveen Bagai of Parveen & Company that sells pomegranate in the Azadpur mandi said fruits valued at over Rs 75-100 crore had been given on credit to small traders and retailers by Delhi traders.
Orange trader Deepak Dhawan at the Azadpur mandi said at the most 30-40% of the investment would be recovered. The 50-60 orange traders in the mandi on an average made Rs 3 crore advance payments to farmers, he said.
In the Muthalamada region of Kerala’s Palakkad district, which supplies the season’s first mango to the country, harvesting has stopped, said Suresh S, a trader. “We are unable to get any trucks to Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad or Indore,” he said.
At the Nunna mandi in Vijayawada district of Andhra Pradesh, mango prices have fallen 60-70%, said Shaikh Moosa of Jai Bharat Fruit Company. “Prices of badami mango and totapuri have fallen by 60% to 70% to Rs 20-25 a kg in wholesale. These are unbelievably low prices in the beginning of the season. It’s a double loss for traders, considering that we have made advance payment to farmers,” he said.
The 80 mango traders in the mandi have given a nearly Rs 40 crore advance to farmers.
Traders were also worried of a drop in sales to mango processors who use it to make pulp for ice cream, juice and supply to other food-processing industries.
Vadilal Ice Cream managing director Rajesh Gandhi said the major buying season for mango was April to May. “The mango has to be plucked at the right time and it cannot be delayed. If the processors are unable to run the units, then buying will be delayed and this will lead to a drop in prices,” he said.