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Malda, West Bengal

India: Lack of general demand puts Malda mango traders in a bind

Malda is a district in West Bengal, India, some 350 km north of Kolkata. Currently, thousands of tons of mangoes are there now, all packed and ready for the market. However, a lack of demand from other states and the absence of vehicles to transport them due to the pandemic restrictions have put mango traders in the district in a difficult position.

Given the lockdown, traders from other states who book large consignments of the fruit for their respective districts and states, have failed to do so this year.

“The entire mango business is now facing a very uncertain future this year. However, all eyes are now on what steps the district administration takes,” one trader said.

According to the Horticulture department, the production of mangoes is fairly good this year, even after the storms that hit the region.

Over 250,000 tons of the fruit has been produced on 31,000 hectares of mango orchards, and many varieties of the fruit -Gopalbhog, Himsagar, Langra, Lakkhanbhog and many more- are abundantly available in orchards and the time to crop them has already arrived. As such, the packing process of these fruits has also begun.

“These packets mainly go to Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, and Bihar etc, but this year, there are no vehicles to transport them, while traders from outside have also not booked the fruit,” the trader said.

Secretary of the Malda Food and Vegetable Owners’ association, Ashok Kumar Das, stayed: “The lockdown has been a problem for growers, and Amphan added to the problems in mango production. The fruit is now rotting at several places in the district. A huge amount is sent outside the district, but this year there is a big crisis of traders to book them. We are looking forward to steps that the government may take to ease the situation.”

According to Uzzal Saha, the secretary of the Malda Mango Merchants’ Association, mango traders are on the verge of facing huge losses this year.


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