The choicest pickle of Andhra Pradesh has moved up high on the price ladder, ditching many drooling souls.
Though the flavour of ‘aavakaya’ is palpable at market places with the arrival of pickle mango varieties, hectic activity typical of the season is noticeably missing this time. Non-availability of good variety mangoes and rising prices are quoted as the reasons.
“Favoured varieties such as Jalalu and Pedda Rasalu are coming in lesser quantities and are finished before noon. Scarcity of mangoes due to ‘Mangu’ disease has affected the pickling season,” shares Anasuya, a seller at Kothapet market.
Jalalu which were sold at a maximum price of Rs.17 apiece last year, are quoted at Rs.25 this time. Pedda Rasam, another variety, is virtually absent. Country mangoes are offered at Rs.2 or Rs. 3 each, apart from the cutting charges of Rs.1 each.
“Enormous increase in the prices of oil and chilli powder also contributes to the cost. For 25 mangoes, I need to use three kilograms of AS Brand oil, which is mighty expensive,” says P. Rajeswari, a home maker. Sesame oil used for pickling is costing 50 per cent more this time at Rs.150 per kilogram. The exclusive chilli powder at Rs. 84 is 40 per cent higher than last year. With the fire accident at Guntur mirch yard, the latter’s price is poised to go further up. Cost of mustard seeds, an essential ingredient of ‘aavakaya’ has gone up by Rs.10 within the last six months.
Cost dynamics of ‘aavakaya’ are obvious at all the Swagruha outlets in the city, with the price of the pickle enhanced by 20 to 30 per cent. At Rs.120 to Rs.160 per kilogram, the pickle in ‘garlic’ and ‘non-garlic’ varieties is proving to be the proverbial sour grapes for many. Less expensive ground nut oil replaces the customary sesame oil at many places.