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Mango pulp units pin hopes on exports

S. Prasad

Flux in market, worrisome



Bountiful harvest: Mangoes being graded based on quality and variety at a market in Kaveripattnam near Krishnagiri. The district accounts for about 40 per cent of the total mango pulp production in the country. Photo: N. Bashkaran

KRISHNAGIRI: Mango farmers and owners of numerous fruit processing units in the district are a happy lot, thanks to the increase in mango production here. The increase would apparently mean better price and increase in production of mango pulp too.

But despite the heavy increase in production, owners of the 30-odd mango pulp processing units in Krishnagiri are pinning their hopes on a better export market, similar to that in 2001.

The agro-processing units in the district account for about 40 per cent of the total mango pulp production in the country, processing about 2,000 containers.

Market fluctuation

With over 90 per cent of the production exported, the survival of the industry depends solely on the stability of the export market.

The fluctuation in the market, particularly in the last three years, has left the pulp manufacturers clueless over the ensuing demand.

This flux is because of certain merchant exporters who settle for lower price to grab orders.

Hence, the Government should fix a reasonable base price to safeguard small-scale agro-based industries, says the president of the Dharmapuri District Fruit and Vegetable Processors' Federation, G. Venkatasamy.

In 2002-03 the processing units incurred a heavy loss due to a steep price fall in the export market. The pulp of Alphonso plummeted from Rs. 800 per carton to Rs. 500, and Thothapuri from Rs. 420 to Rs. 300 per carton within two to three months. This forced the pulp units to reduce the carton rate by Rs. 10 to Rs. 15.

Further, many processors are of the opinion that the interest of working capital at 12.5 percent is high. The Government must provide interest at 9 per cent and coordinate for marketing stability. It should also set up a mango cluster of the units, what with employment opportunities standing at 12,000, he says.

Cans purchased

This year, orders have been placed to purchase cans in advance to cater to local and export market, instead of waiting for merchant exporters to supply them.

Mr. Venkatasamy says that the mango pulp from here has already created a niche for itself in the international market. In addition, a brand of mango juice and other value added products from the units would go a long way in marketing the products both in the local and the international market.

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