INDIA: Mango yield drops, price shoots up

The king of fruits has arrived in the town this season,with king-size price tags. Buffeted by either unseasonal or deficient rain in the fruit-growing regions, mangoes are beyond the reach of the aam aadmi. In some instances, the price has almost doubled, and the yield has halved.


Bangalore, Mysore and Kolar were hit hard by scanty rainfall and prolonged extreme summer conditions. In Dharwad, an unlikely rain accompanied by hailstorm played havoc with the fruits.


A kilogram of Alphonso variety of mangoes — said to be the most exotic — is selling at Rs 250 in Bangalore’s Russell Market. Hopcoms outlets are selling the same at Rs 105. Mohammed Idrees Choudhury, secretary, Russell Market Traders’ Association, said no good variety of mango comes below Rs 100. “The price of Alphonso, which comes from Maharashtra, has doubled in a year,” he said.


Bangalore gets exotic varieties from Pune, Valsad, Ratnagiri, and sources local onesfrom neighbouring Kolar,Devanahalli and Ramanagaram. “In 2013, some 80 tonnes of mangoes flew off the shelf; this time, we’ve just about 30 tonnes to sell,” he said, explaining the price spike this year.


Hopcoms managing director Kadire Gowda said the volume of crops has dropped by 10% this year, affecting arrivals into Bangalore. “We’re depending more on Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and we’ve been receiving about 8-10 tonnes of mangoes every day,” he said.


Dharwad’s expectation of a good yield this year was badly marred by hailstorm and rain. “Some 40%of the yieldwasdamaged in the rain,” said Prabhakar, a farmer. Alphonso, or Aapus as it’s called in Dharwad, is a once-in-two-years unique yield. That, perhaps, explains why the Aapus variety is sold at Rs 400 for a dozen fruits and the medium ones at Rs 250-Rs 300 a dozen. The district grows the fruits in 12,000 hectares, and is home to at least 70 varieties, including Mallika, Neelam, Totapuri and not-often-heard Bombay Green.


High-quality mangoes are grown in a clutch of areas of Dharwad district coming under the Malnad belt. These are Kalghatgi, Alnavar, Mugad, Nigadi, Mavinkoppa, Murkatti, and Salakinkopp in Dharwad taluk, Kundgol and parts of Hubli taluk.


In a near-arid Kolar, the mango crop largely depends on rain. Horticulture department deputy director (Kolar ) M R Chandrashekar said over 3.6 lakh tonnes of crop is expected from 45,000-hectare land. This year, it’s going to be a lot less. The shortfall is so acute that Kolar fruit sellers are looking to procure mangoes from Ramanagaram, Vijayawada and Rathnagiri in a bid to meet the demand. A kilogram of the Raspuri variety is sold at Rs 70 and that of Alphonso at Rs 90.


Mysore, too, is seeing the price of Badam-variety mangoes shooting up by 30%. Now, it’s sold between Rs 90 and Rs 120 a kilogram, a steep 30% rise over that of last year. But the high price hasn’t deterred Mysoreans from buying the seasonal fruit. Umarani, from Kuvempunagar, said : “I’m ready to pay through the nose because the fruits are seasonal and my children want it. I bought only 500gm, though.”


Source: Times of India

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