25 May 2016 06:55:16 IST

Alphonso comes a cropper in Maharashtra, Telangana

B.LINE:The arrival of premium variety Alphonso mangoes has picked up in the Delhi markets. Alphonso are currently priced at Rs 600 a dozen and with a glut in the crop in the main growing region of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, traders in Bengali market expect the prices to come down further in the days to come , in the Capital on 05.2013. Pic : Kamal Narang

But increase in mango output from Karnataka steadies supplies, prices

Changes in the weather and attacks by pests have hit the output of the famous Alphonso mango in Maharashtra and Telangana. However, while this had led to a slight thinning of supply, it has not had a huge impact on prices, thanks to supply from Northern Karnataka.

Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts in Maharashtra, home to Alphonso mangoes, have been facing erratic rainfall in the last couple of years. The change in climate has led to pest attacks on the orchards. As a result, in large markets such as Mumbai, there has been an almost 35 per cent decline in the supply of mangoes. However, prices remain stable at about ₹300 to ₹500 a dozen as Alphonso mangoes cultivated in the Hubli-Dharwad region of Karnataka are boosting supply.

Young orchards Bengaluru-based agriculture expert Jagadeesh Sunkad told BusinessLine that the orchards in Ratnagiri are very old, while the ones in Karnataka were planted in the last 10 to 15 years using high-density cultivation techniques. The planting has been done keeping in mind the mango pulp market, which largely caters to fruit drink makers. They have high yields and when the farmers get better rates in retail markets, they divert a part of their crop to places such as Mumbai, he said.

Sunkad, who is also the Chief Technology Officer of Villfarm Agri Solutions, said that Alphonso trees have a natural cycle and the tree gives good crops once in two years. But farmers in Karnataka have been using the Paclobutrazol growth hormone, which leads to better yields every year.

Vijay Dhoble, a leading mango trader from the Navi Mumbai APMC market, confirmed that in recent years mango arrivals from the Konkan have reduced considerably while supply from Karnataka has increased. “The Konkan variety has much better quality and taste,” he opined. “But people are getting the mangoes from Karnataka at much cheaper rates.”

P Upase, a mango farmer from Hubli, pointed out that both the Konkan region and Northern Karnataka have Laterite soil but trees in the Konkan are dependent on rainfall whereas in Karnataka they have access to better irrigation facilities.

Telangana woes Meanwhile, the export hopes of mango farmers in Telangana have been dashed as the heat wave and dry spells have sucked up moisture in the soil. The State, which grows mangoes over 1.96 lakh hectares, has suffered a huge loss due to the drought. “About 70 per cent of the crop was damaged. Flowering was hit, resulting in poor output,” said a top Horticulture Department officer.

(With inputs from KV Kurmanath, in Hyderabad)