Indian fruit traders still using calcium carbide

Mango traders in Telangana State say that because of the short mango trade season, and the high input costs for cold storage, they are forced to continue to use calcium carbide to ripen fruits and are still unaware of cost-effective organic methods.

Officials from the Horticulture department are in talks with traders at the Gaddianaram fruit market to take up ripening of fruits organically, however, 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 190,000 hectares in Telangana State and in Andhra Pradesh it is 400,000 hectares.

Saleem, a trader says, “Mango trade is just for three months and it costs Rs 1 million 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 an 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, which is a problem if fruit is picked too early.

(1 India Rupee= 0.015 USD)


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