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Malda: Even as the Bengal government is holding mango festivals with pomp in different parts of the state, growers in mango capital Malda are dumping their harvest on roads to highlight the abysmally low price that they are getting this season.

According to the Malda growers, whereas a kg of Langda, Amrapali, and Himsagar variety of mango usually fetches around Rs 25-30 a kg in the wholesale market, this time the price has come down to a meagre Rs 8-10 a kg.

This is happening at a time when the district has witnessed a bumper mango harvest this season in orchards spread over 33,000 hectares area. Usually, the district harvests around 4.5 lakh tons of mango a year but the volume is much higher this time.

To highlight their plight, a section of mango growers on Friday dumped over 100 kgs of mango on the Ratua-Bhaluka State Highway at Haatkhola under Ratua block. A farmer named Sahabuddin Sheikh said that they hardly have an option when the cost of growing a kg of mango is Rs 8 and they are able to get hardly Rs 10 that too after much bargaining with the bulk buyers.

The farmers have identified the scaremongering over Nipah Virus and use of alleged harmful fertilisers as the prime reason behind the low demand for Malda mango when there’s been a bumper harvest.

“On top of this, the traders who used to export our produce to Bangladesh are showing little interest this time. The state government should have chalked out a strategy to channel out the produce to other states when it knew that it will be a bumper harvest this time,” Sheikh said.

Experts who keep track of Malda mango has opined that the steep hike in import duty by Bangladesh since last year is the prime reason behind the low demand and the resultant low price in the domestic market. Until last year, Bangladesh was the main consumer for the Malda mango.