Seasonal fruits losing grip as fast food takes front seat

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 18 Jan 2018 10:05:17


By Praveen Vighre,

CALL it the impact of electronic media or the changing lifestyle of the people, the demand for seasonal fruits seems to have taken a beating this season. Seasonal fruits, such as ‘Ber’ (Wild Berry) and Jam (Guava), which arrive in the market particularly in the month of December and January, are finding less takers. Ber, or the berry which was once called as ‘Meva Garibo Ka’ and Guava were witnessing a major drop in demand this season, sources said.

“In our childhood days, with the onset of winter season we used to wait for the arrival of fruits like Ber and Guava. Even, our friends used to bunk classes and fan out in different directions in forest areas or farms to pluck Ber and Guava,” said Shabiul Hussain, a 45-year-old self-employed person. Although his attraction for these fruits has not decreased, but when he uses to purchase them from the market and ask his children to eat it, they are disinterested. Looking at the disliking towards such fruits by his children, Hussain has stopped telling them to eat these fruits.

Kushal Mahendra said: “We used to get it freely or at a very reasonable price. Now, purchasing Ber and Guava at Rs 60 or Rs 100 per kilogram respectively does not fit to my conscience,” he said.

Dr Vinod Jaiswal, District Chairperson, Global Service Team of Lions Club International and a Pathologist by profession said, “Availability and awareness are the two most important factors for the people losing interest in these seasonal fruits.” He said that Ber and Guava were easily available near the fence of several farms. There used to be ample availability of these fruits which too had impacted on the prices. “Nowadays, parents are busy and they don’t pay much heed towards eating habits of their children. They always try to fulfil the demand of the children. Whatever advertisements of fast food they watch on TV, children are demanding them from parents. These junked and fast foods of children or even elderly people are keeping them miles away from eating seasonal fruits,” he said.

Guava is rich in Vitamin C and it help protect cells and lower cancerous damage. Guava also lessens diabetes risk and keep the digestive system healthy and maintain the blood pressure level. It is enriched with copper and manganese.
Prof Praveen Handa said: “On the social media a message has become viral -- ‘Aajkal Ber Bhi Ped Se Apne Aap Gir Jate Hai, Kyuki Patthar Marne Wale Bachche Nahi Aate’. Like dates, Ber is loaded with energy, essential vitamins and minerals, which gives several health benefits like anti-cancer quality, general gastrointestinal and chronic constipation relief.”

Dr Vivek Chandnani, a homoeopath, suggested that the people should consume more seasonal fruits as they increased immunity. Seasonal fruits gave resistance power to make one fit during weather change. People should not bother about the prices but their health benefits. Ber and Guava are available between Rs 50 and Rs 100 per kilogram depending upon sizes.

Nagpur was an important market for ‘Ber’

RAM Mahajan, Secretary of the Mahatma Fule Market Vegetable and Fruit Adtiyas Welfare Association said that some years ago Nagpur was an important market for Ber. The major supply was from Paoni in Bhandara district. “Even the fruit merchants from Kolkata used to stay in the city for a month to collect Ber and load them in trucks to carry them at their home town markets. Now, we don’t see fruit merchants from Kolkata coming to us and demanding huge stocks of Ber,” he said.

As compared to last year, the supply of Ber and Guava is very less. He said that in and around Nagpur, there used to be a large area covered by agriculture land. Trees of Ber and Guava used to act as a guard for entry in these farms. “Now, these agriculture belts have been converted into non-agriculture belts where housing schemes have come up. This is also one of the reasons for less production of Ber and Guava. No one is taking interest in cultivating Ber and Guava,” he noted.