South Gujarat women mango farmers turn cyclone into rainmaker

South Gujarat women mango farmers turn cyclone into rainmaker

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SURAT: Cyclone Tauktae came marauding down the coastline, plundering the mango orchards clean and ravaging farmers’ seasonal income. But a few like Bela Patel, a mango orchard owner in Abrama village of Navsari, knew how to rise above the tides. She saw an opportunity amid the calamity, even as her fallen mangoes of Rajapuri and desi varieties did not find takers in the Kesar-filled local APMC market.
Instead of counting losses, she decided to make value addition to the huge stock of damaged mangoes and mint money — much more than what she could have earned in the APMC market. Along with four other women from Abrama and Boriyach villages, Bela embarked on her successful trip.
“We used to make pickles and marmalades for our home, so we thought of making in large quantities using the fallen mangoes and sell in local markets or among friends and family members,” said Bhavnita Patel, one of the five women from the group, who made sliced mango pickles using Rajapuri mangoes.
“We would have got Rs 200 to Rs 300 for 20 kilograms of fallen mangoes, but now through our quick thinking, we are selling one kilogram of pickle for Rs 200 to Rs 250,” said Bela, who has already sold off four types of pickles.
While Bhavnita and Bela made pickles and dry mango powder using mangoes of their orchard, another group member, Jagruti Patel, bought additional mangoes from other farmers to sell the mango products on a larger scale. “Using the desi type of mangoes, I made spiced pickles, while from other mangoes I made marmalade and dry mango powder. Some of the mangoes had ripened so I have bottled mango juice too for sale,” said Jagruti, who will also make use of dried seeds for mouth fresheners.
“Where I was thinking I will be facing a huge loss, here I am earning more than what I would have by selling good quality mangoes,” said Jagruti.

 

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