Fruit traders still practise artificial ripening

Fruit traders still practise artificial ripening
Highlights

The mango fruit traders in Telangana State are still using calcium carbide to ripen fruits and are still unaware of cost-effective organic methods.

Hyderabad: The mango fruit traders in Telangana State are still using calcium carbide to ripen fruits and are still unaware of cost-effective organic methods. Even as officials from the Horticulture department are in talks with the traders at the Gaddianaram fruit market to take up ripening of fruits organically, traders complain that they are apprehensive and are not used to trying out the use of ethylene gas.

Eighty per cent of the mango produced both in Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh is procured directly from farmers. The Banganapalli variety is grown in 70-80 per cent areas in two states. Mango is grown in 1.9 lakh hectares in Telangana State and in Andhra Pradesh it is 4 lakh hectares.

Saleem, a trader says, “Mango trade is just for three months and it costs Rs 10 lakh to construct a fruit chamber for just a capacity of one tonne. It will take years for traders to get the return on Investment (RoI).” Officials from the department, however, said the traders can still go in for organic way of ripening by using canisters that cost just Rs 150.

An official said the traders can close all air outlets in storage rooms and ripen fruits using ethylene gas. Another reason cited by traders is that only mature fruits would ripen in chambers. “The correct stage of harvesting mango is between 100-120 days, but the problem is when the fruit is plucked before time,” said

agricultural scientists. “Traders have been using calcium carbide for over 50 years and it would take time for them to switch over to ripening of fruits naturally ,” said Mohammed Iqbal who has been in this business for two decades.

“With the State government being determined to crack the whip on traders indulging in artificial ripening, traders are scared but have to get a hang of the method”, said A Kiran Kumar, Senior Scientist, Food Research Station, Sri Konda Laxman Telangana State Horticultural University. “The department is conducting awareness camps and demonstrations are also being conducted,” he added.

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