Mango fruit now travels via India Post; how about cherry?

Ziraat Times Web Team

Srimagar: India Post is now helping mango growers to access market amid transport disruptions due to lockdown.

While cherry, strawberry, peach and plum growers in Kashmir are highly worried about the fate of their fruits this season due to the lockdown and unavailability of air and surface transport, Ziraat Times assessment indicates that engaging with India Post for transportation could be an option worth exploring.

In a first effort in Gujarat, India Post has started ferrying Alphonso mango from the heartland Valsad district to Surat using its mail motor service.

“Currently due to lockdown, wholesale traders are buying directly from the mango orchards. But transportation remained a challenge for them. Since we have an established logistics network through all the districts, these people got engaged with us and we started taking mangoes along with our mails in the motor service,” Ashok Kumar Poddar, Chief Post Master General (CPMG), Gujarat Circle told Businessline. The service will be extended to across Gujarat and Mumbai through the road network.

Pertinetly, cherry and strawberry farmers, who have traditionally relied on air cargo for transporting the highly perishable fruits to markets across the country, have expressed worry that this season they might be unable to do so, and have asked the government’s intervention, including MSP support.

India Post uses its Mail Motor Service and takes the vehicles right up to mango orchards, from where they pick up the consignments and deliver to the destined locations including warehouses or bulk buyer premises.

While India Post has a modest network in Kashmir valley, observers believe that it can bolster the network by chipping in additional resources from Jammu division if need be.

“These vehicles go on behalf of the traders, who tell us from which orchard the mango has to be picked-up. And we deliver it to the locations they suggest,” he added.

Notably, multiple issues were faced in commercial transport of mangoes. While some declined the service to red zones of Covid-19, some others faced difficulty in arranging drivers due to mass exodus of migrants. There were challenges in inter-district and inter-state movement for commercial vehicles as well. In such a scenario, many times transporters overcharged or declined the service to traders or farmers.

“This the timely help for consumers and farmers. The mango harvest has begun and the fruit being perishable it was important to transport it at the right time to the markets,” he said.

More and more buyers are now approaching India Post for the service. There are sufficient vehicle arrangements even for larger consignments of about 2-3 tonnes of mango. The freight charged is nominal ₹10 per kg for smaller consignments and there are discount for larger shipments.

“We will soon connect Talala Market in Junagadh – known for its Kesar variety of mango and start delivering to other parts of the State and to Mumbai as well,” added Poddar.

Exploring Cotton transports

Poddar also informed that amid disrupted commercial transport scenario, India Post is also exploring a logistic solution for Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) for transporting cotton from the procurement centers to the warehouses.

CCI procures cotton from farmers at the minimum support price (MSP) rates and stores the quantities at its designated warehouses.

With inputs from Rutam Vora, THBL

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