As a result, jaggery wholesalers from Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand are importing jaggery from other states. While the Anakapalle jaggery is renowned for its quality, over the last few years, wholesalers have begun procuring jaggery from Odisha and Maharashtra. Consequently, the demand for Anakapalle jaggery is witnessing a slump.
KV Sarath Kumar, whose family has been in the jaggery business for three generations, now told TOI that traditional jaggery buyers from Odisha and West Bengal are choosing to procure it from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh because of the lower cost and smaller size of lumps.
“Since retail customers like to buy jaggery in smaller quantities, wholesalers are also switching to smaller lumps as they do not have to break them before selling,” Sarath Kumar added.
M Satynarayana, another jaggery trader in Anakapalle agrees with Sarath. He said, “We have decided to educate jaggery-makers in Anakapalle to produce smaller lumps in order to compete and have also decided on providing them financial support to convince them to switch to making smaller lumps.”
Meanwhile, K Suryanarayana, a jaggery-maker said, “We need the latest machinery and more manpower to produce smaller jiggery lumps. If there is no further investment and increase in manpower, most jiggery-makers will continue to produce the bigger lumps.”
Traders further say that the amount of jaggery reaching the market has been decreasing over the last few years. While the market received 18,000 tonnes of jaggery in 2016-17, the quantity dropped to 12,000 tonnes in 2017-18 and subsequently to 10,000 tonnes in 2018-19, they say.
“We are expecting that around 8,000 tonnes of jaggery will come into the market this time,” a trader said.
“If we fail to compete, the Anakapalle jaggery market will lose its glory,” another trader said.