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Will the Mumbai Markets Flood with Konkan Alphonso Mangoes this Year?

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

India usually comes alive with Mango madness from March to July every year. The major Mango producing states are Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil NaduAndra Pradesh, Konkan, Goa, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Alphonso mangoes, the Native of Konkan region of Maharashtra are the most relished and are considered to be among the most superior in terms of sweetness, richness and flavour and are a native of the Konkan region of Maharashtra. This mango was developed out of the grafting experiments done by the Portuguese during their rule in India. The Geographical Indications Registry, Mumbai ordered that mango produced only within the Konkan region of Maharashtra will be called Hapus (also known as Alphonso mango). 

There are 100 trees grown on one hectare in Konkan farms and they produce three tonnes of mangoes in one season. Down to Earth Reports that Over 50,000 tonnes of Alphonso Mangoes are also exported to the United States, European Union, Middle Eastern countries, Australia and Japan every year, as per the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) of Maharashtra, a marketing board for farmers set up by the state government. 

The Arrival of mangoes at this time of the year in Mumbai markets would be late and would be attributed to the lock down measures taken with respect to the Corona virus scare. The Lock down has impacted the timely harvest of alphonso mangoes in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. Around 150,000 hectares of land in Konkan Region is under Alphonso cultivation in five districts of Konkan, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Raigad, Thane and Palghar. Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg are major producers of Alphonso. The mangoes are ready for harvest but they are waiting for a ten day period more for the lockdown to end  and start their harvesting activities. The Mangoes are likely to arrive in the market only by the end of April unlike mid-March every year. Adding to Mumbaikers woes it would be practically difficult as we do not predict flooding of markets with Alphonso Mangoes. The Problems could be due to the transportation and availability of labours in harvesting due to Corona virus scare. 

Kaustubh Kelkar from Ganapatipule talks to me about his farm of 10 acres and how dependant they are on the Mango Economy, since it fruits once a year .He talks to me restlessly about how the Corona Virus scare has spread in the villages and how labourers have left the villages and gone back to their homes. There is definitely an issue of transportation. But he also reiterates about how they form small collectives and transport a small lot in Tata Sumos to Pune and Mumbai, but it’s a painstaking effort says Kaustubh. Small farmers who cultivate mangoes on a smaller land will also bear the brunt. He also says that untimely rain, heavy winds etc also have been bothering them for quite some time in the last years and have been reasons for causing reduction of production too. 

We sincerely hope the Agriculture Department and Government arranges the needful things to take steps so that farmers would be abled to tackle situations at a better level. 


Will Corona Lock down affect Mango Tourism? 

Mango tourism is starting to catch on in Maharashtra, where the popular Alphonso mango (locally known as hapus) is grown. Come mango season and people flock to the Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts to feast on fresh mangoes. Mango festivals are also held all over in India in honor of the "King of Fruits". 

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