Agri university alumni link mango farmers with urban market
The alumni association has set a target of helping farmers to sell about 50 tonnes of mangoes
The University of Agricultural Sciences’ Alumni Association has again stepped in to help farmers in distress on account of COVID-19 and the lockdown. The Association, which had lent a helping hand in marketing of grapes during the last year’s lockdown, has this time chosen mango growers for direct marketing assistance.
About 30 mango farmers have been identified by the Association for assistance in not just marketing, but also scientific method of harvesting of fruit and its ripening and packaging.
The Association had called for applications from interested farmers to utilize its assistance and has chosen about 30 farmers among them based on various parameters and logistics.
The Association, which has a large number of reputed farm scientists and also earned the goodwill of residents welfare association during the sale of premium varieties of grapes last year, is using the goodwill in this hour of crisis to convince residents’ welfare associations to allow its members to buy mango produce directly from farmers without violating any COVID restrictions.
The Association began its direct marketing initiative of mango on Monday on an experimental basis in Hollywood Town near the Kempe Gowda International Airport in Devanahalli. Bolstered by the good response, it took up sales in other areas like Sadashivanagar and Sahakaranagar besides its own campus in Hebbal.
“We have sold about 12 tonnes of alphanso and kesar variety of premium mangoes in the last few days. We have a target of reaching 50 tonnes of sales soon after we enter the market in a full fledged manner from Friday/Saturday,” said Alumni Association president Dr. K. Narayana Gowda. About half a tonne of mango was sold in Sadashivanagar within 30 minutes, he added.
While it would act as a facilitator besides standing guarantee for quality, the farmers would sell their produce in the presence of the Association office bearers. “In addition to facilitating marketing access, we will also provide orientation to farmers through short videos and literature in Kannada on scientific harvesting of fruit without damaging it and healthy methods of ripening. We will also give them packaging material with a capacity of 3 kg each worth ₹ 26 at free of cost. While we lend our brand by printing the Association’s name on the pack, farmer’s name and contact details will also have to be written so that consumers can contact them again if they are happy,” Dr. Gowda noted. Presently, farmers are collecting ₹ 80 to 100 a kg of alphanso varieties.
Farmer Shirurappa Bisnalli of Gadag district, who managed to sell about one tonne of Ratnagiri Alphanso varieties of mango through the Association, is happy over he getting market linkage. “I would have left the produce in the farm itself as there was no proper market access,” he said.
Sadashivanagar Residents’ Welfare Association Secretary Chaitra Mukund said people of her area were happy and satisfied with the quality. “But what is more satisfying for us is the feeling of helping farmers during distress. Most of the residents made it very clear that we should not resort to bargaining as it is an opportunity to extend a helping hand to farmers,” she said.