The very reason why Mango is considered the 'King of Fruits' is facing a dubious crisis in Karnataka. Rich in antioxidants, Mangoes are considered to be the cancer-preventing sentries that also keep the cholesterol levels in check. However, recent reports about middlemen using carcinogenic powders for the early ripening of the fruit have turned against these very qualities that make the fruit a delight among mango lovers. The mandis and the shops, including those run by the government- Horticultural Producers’ Co-operative Marketing and Processing Society Ltd (HOPCOMS)-are flooded with different varieties of mangoes, albeit their takers. 

In fact, farmers from the prime mango-producing areas in Karnataka- Tumakuru and Doddaballpur-rue that although there has been a bumper crop, there are no takers because of the rumours of harmful chemicals being used in the fruit. They also say that buyers now prefer online stores that promise of organic fruits. This has resulted in the prices of mangoes going down by almost 20% in the market. 

The farmers blame the involvement of middlemen and retailers in the trade. Referring to a media rumour that started 3-4 years ago, the farmers say that doubt was implanted in the minds of the buyers since then. "And it was true too. Middlemen were buying the fruit from us and then artificially ripening it with carbide and carcinogenic powders," said a farmer. 

Mango prices in the Karnataka markets now range from Rs 60 to Rs 120, depending on the variant one is buying. For instance, Rasapuri is priced anywhere between Rs 64-Rs 80, while Mallika and Badami range from Rs 70 to Rs 120 respectively.