Pickle making here assumes cottage industry stature

Pickle making here assumes cottage industry stature
Highlights

Mango pickle is an essential part of typical Andhra cuisine. Whatever is the occasion, without pickle the meals course is not complete. East and West Godavari districts are renowned for preparation of the pickles at households. But the preparation of pickles became a cottage industry providing livelihood to thousands of women. 

Rajamahendravaram: Mango pickle is an essential part of typical Andhra cuisine. Whatever is the occasion, without pickle the meals course is not complete. East and West Godavari districts are renowned for preparation of the pickles at households. But the preparation of pickles became a cottage industry providing livelihood to thousands of women.

Some villages in Konaseema thrive on pickles trade. We come across women cutting mangoes in almost all houses with heaps of mangoes on their side in Atreyapuram, Ryali, Narkidimilli, Ankampalem and and other villages. All through the year, mango pickles are used in all households. Whether the housewife prepared dal and curry or not, people are accustomed to finish their meals with pickles and curd.

Housewives preserve the pickles in jars for use all through the year. Even preparation of pickles is an art. and not everyone can do it. Mixing red chilli powder, salt, garlic, fenurgreek seeds and oil in right quantities is essential in preparing the pickles. Otherwise, the pickle will not come good. People are now preparing pickles not only to meet their own domestic needs but also to sell it in market.

Pickle-making has become a cottage industry in Atreyapuram, Narkidimilli, Ryali and Ankampalem. Especially in Narkidimilli, people of the entire village are busy running the cottage industry. The moment one enters the village, aroma of pickles wafts through the air. The condition is more or less the same in any street of the village. We come across pickles stored in barrels. All women are involved in the preparation activity.

They prepare the pickles mixing all ingredients in drums and stored as it is for a month. Afterwards, the pickle is transferred to another container and sold to customers. Special pickle is sold at Rs 60 a kg, while the ordinary variety at Rs 35 to 40 a kg. People of the village earn livelihood for about eight months in a year.

They visit various Hyderabad, Tirupati, Chittoor, Bangalore, Chennai and other locations to market the pickles. The Konaseema pickle is very popular and its demand is high. One of the manufacturers, Chanti, said the sale is good all through the year. However, he said that the commercial taxes officials are harassing and imposing when traders of the village transport the goods.

"They are asking us to pay Rs 10,000 towards taxes. This cottage industry does not get loans from banks, though some of the SHG women are engaged in the activity, they are not getting enough quantum of loan to support themselves," he says. Each family invests not less than Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh to make pickles. The traders buy red chillis from Guntur and prepare the chilli powder. Mangoes are purchased from East Godavari uplands and Rajahmundry.

Pickle-makers of these villages need at least 1000 tonnes of mangoes in the peak season. Manufacturers of pickle lament that there is no support from government for their trade though they have involved in this occupation for decades. In Atreyapuram, sugar-coated waffers (putarekulu) business have been overtaken by pickle industry. Thousands of women are engaged in this activity, but there is no support from the government. Moreover, the officials are harassing the traders. The pickle traders have appealed to the govenrment to lend its support to cottage industries involved in manufacture of pickles.

By M Sri Rama Murthy

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