Written by Rahul V Pisharody
| Hyderabad |

Published: April 28, 2020 7:23:16 pm

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With the lockdown threatening to turn the mango season in Hyderabad bitter, the state government has come up with a first-of-its-kind initiative. From May 1, a phone call and online payment can get farm-fresh ripe mangoes delivered at one’s doorstep, with the department promising “best quality” mangoes procured directly from the farmer.

Residents of greater Hyderabad can call 799-772-4925 or 799-772-4944 to place an order and pay via Google Pay or PhonePe on 799-772-4925, between 9 am and 5 pm all days of the week. The delivery address with pin code will also have to be shared in a message, and the mangoes will be delivered via India Post parcel services in four to five days.

A box of 5 kg of Banginapalli mangoes is priced at Rs 350, which includes the packing charges. There is no limit on the number of boxes one can order.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, L Venkatram Reddy, Director, Department of Horticulture, Telangana, said this was the first time the department had started the initiative and it was the need in times of Covid-19.

“We have 80,000 farmers. Depending on the demand, we will procure from farmers and supply them to customers. Through this, we are eliminating middlemen, ensuring fair pricing, and safe handling of mangoes for supply in 5-kg cartons. We will provide good-quality mangoes that have been ripened in a safe and chemical-free manner,” said the Director.

According to him, India Post parcel services will ensure systematic delivery. The department has tied up with farmers for harvesting the fruits too, and the prices may differ based on the variety of mangoes, their availability with farmers, etc.

The coronavirus lockdown hit the mango trade in Hyderabad hard. The largest fruit market in the state, Gaddiannaram market, has been shut since April 23 as efforts to ensure social distancing in the market failed.

“The mango trade was shifted to Koeda village near Abdullapurmet on the city outskirts, and other fruits are being traded from makeshift centers nearby. This will be streamlined in the coming days,” said E Venkatesham, secretary, Gaddiannaram Agriculture Market Committee.

On April 27, the arrival of nearly 576 tonnes of mangoes was recorded and they were sold between Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 per tonne, meaning a wholesale price between Rs 20 and Rs 50 per kilogram.

In the wake of Covid-19, the government has been encouraging the public to consume more fruits and develop immunity. The department of horticulture is making efforts to sell fruits through hundreds of mobile vans in residential localities across the city.

According to a press release from the department, mangoes are grown in 3.07 lakh acres across the state with a total yield of 13.84 metric tonnes valued at Rs 3,600 crore. While Banginapalli variety of mango occupies about 80-85 per cent of the mango cultivation area in the state, other varieties such as Himayat, Dassehri, Kesar, Mallika, and Rasalu are also cultivated.

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