The Mango Express that carries tones of fruits to north India this season every year failed to take off this time. (PTI file photo)
Visakhapatnam: The Mango Express that carries tones of fruits to north India this season every year failed to take off this time. Traders say they fetch good price in the local markets and hence this is not a problem to them.
Railway sources said the urgency for coal movement led to cancellation of the mango express train services to New Delhi from Vizianagaram district this year. Mango orchards are spread over 25,000 hectares. It was more, some 35,000 hectares, in the undivided Vizianagaram -- the third-largest spread after Chittoor and Krishna districts.
"This year, the fruit was harvested only from 18,000 hectares. The yield was just three tonnes per hectare, which was five tonnes last year,’’ said deputy director of horticulture in Vizianagaram, Reddy Srinivasa Rao.
The deputy director told DC that since the rail facility for mangoes was not available, the fruits were sent in trucks to various destinations in the north, east and south. Nearly half of the harvested fruits were sent outside the state and the remaining was sold in the markets of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and parts of Tamil Naidu, he said.
Traders could fetch only Rs 50,000 to Rs 80,000 per tonne from the north Indian markets, against a rate of Rs 1.5 to Rs 2 lakh in the previous years, said president of the mango growers’ association, Lagudu Demudu, who grows varieties of mango in over 500 hectares every year in Vizianagaram district.
He told DC on Friday that, this year, the farmers could send only seven wagon loads of mangoes to New Delhi. Each wagon was loaded with 15,000 boxes (each box containing 15kg of fruits).
The Kisan or Mango Express train carried 10, 179 tonnes of mango to New Delhi in 2019, 7,000 tonnes in 2020 and 4,330 tonnes in 2021.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Man Ki Baat programme on May 30 last year praised the Waltair division for launching the Mango Express, saying it helped marginal farmers.
However, traders could fetch an impressive price in the local markets, particularly in Visakhapatnam where a crate of Rasalu (15kg) was sold for Rs 2,000. Last year, the crate was sold for less than Rs 700.