Alphonso mango prices shoot up as most of the crop is destroyed by pests, cold weather
Alekh Angre 31 March 2011

Exports of the king of fruits will be affected too; horticulturists blame low-quality pesticides for crop loss

Alphonso, the king of fruits which grows mainly in Maharashtra’s Konkan region, will be costlier this season.

A whopping 80% of the crop in the region has been destroyed due to a prolonged winter and continuous pest attacks. According to horticulturists, despite agricultural advancement, pesticides available in the market are not up to the mark and farmers depending on these products have suffered heavy crop losses.
 
A horticulturist from the region told Moneylife, “It’s not like, we don’t have any solution. There are a lot of pesticides available in the market. But when it comes to quality they all are low grade. There are many such low-quality pesticides available. Farmers use whatever is available in the market. There is a need for quality control, otherwise this will continue.”
 
The horticulturist who request anonymity, explained, “Farmers are willing to pay more for pesticides or anything that will take care of the crop, but ultimately they end up using these low-quality pesticides. This time these inefficient pesticides and unfavourable climate resulted in destruction of the Alphonso mangoes.”
 
According to Dr Bharat Salvi, horticulturist, Regional Fruit Research Station at Dr Balasaheb Sawant Agricultural University, “Around 80% of the mango production is destroyed due to the climatic condition. The crop was exposed to cold temperature for a long period of time. Apart from this, hopper and thrips attacks also contributed to destruction. Only 20% of the normal production will be available in the market.”
 
Understandably, dealers expect the prices of Alphonso mangoes to stay high this season due to the shortage. “The prices are really high this time because of the supply crunch and prices will remain high unless new produce arrives in the market. Again it won’t come down heavily,” explained a fruits dealer, Bhoble & Company, at the APMC market in Vashi. “All mangoes from the Konkan region, mainly Ratnagiri, Deogadh, Sindhudurg and Vijaydurg have been destroyed due to the erratic climatic conditions. At the retail market, the best quality mangoes are available at Rs1,400-Rs1,500 onwards.”
 
Another dealer said, “Last year the produce arrived in phases, in March, April and May. This time only 25% of the mangoes that are usually received in March have come in. Prices may see a very slight drop when the new stock arrives. This is expected by 15th April. In the retail market the prices of Alphonso is anywhere between Rs400 and Rs1,000 a dozen.”
 
Even mango exporters expect a more than 50% dip in business on account of the lower supply. The scarcity has already resulted in a price spike, but overseas consumers are not willing to pay more for the fruit.
 
Parag Gandhi, who exports mangoes to the US and the UK said, “Exports will be terribly affected. We expect up to 50% loss in business. Already there is a problem over infrastructure for export of mangoes to the US, which is a very competitive and qualitative market. Now there is also lower production. There is a huge gap between availability and applicability of effective agricultural methods. This should be addressed to avoid any production loss.”
 
Ekram Hussain, another exporter of mangoes to Bahrain and Singapore, said, “Overseas consumers are not ready to pay high prices. Prices are high due to unavailability of sufficient mangoes for export. We expect more than 50% dip in the export of Alphonso. Kesar, another mango variety that is exported, is yet to come to the market. Again, the prices will be high for them as well.”
 
With the steep rise in mango prices, it seems that the aam admi will not be able to relish the favourite aam this summer.
Comments
nagesh kini
1 decade ago
This is a forewarning of days to come. While this is an act of God, Jaitapur Power Plant will kill whatever is left of the mango tree that have been standing there for years. This project post-Japan nuclear melt down not based on time tested technology in a biodiversity hotspot on a siesmically vulnerable location ought to be shot down more particularly when nations like Germany and others are considering scrapping NPP and moving back to coal and gas. Are you listening Jairam Rameshji?
madhukar c sheth
1 decade ago
Are you sure Alphonso producers are not trying to fool dealers & consumers by talking of low crop high price ?
There are lobbies everywhere.
Once I read an American research report, appreciating virtues of Almond. At the bottom, it was honestly written " THIS RESEARCH WAS FUNDED BY ALMOND GROWERS ASSOCIATION OF USA "
Alekh
Replied to madhukar c sheth comment 1 decade ago
That's exactly what we had suspected and we still believe that there is something wrong. But so far nobody is confirming.
Lets wait and watch till 15 April when the second phase produce will arrive in the market.
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