Alphonso mangoes grown in the Konkan region of the Indian state of Maharashtra are among the few Indian farm products to enjoy a Geographic Indicators (GI) tag. Nevertheless, they are fighting an uphill battle in the wholesale and retail markets. Similar looking mangoes sourced from Karnataka have flooded the market, and are being mislabelled and sold as Alphonso mangoes.
This practice is eating into the margins of the local farmers. The Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) has asked all the market yards controlled by Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) across the State to keep mislabelling and mis-selling practices in check.
Last October, the Alphonso mangoes grown in the coastal Konkan districts of Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri received the GI tag from the Geographical Indication Registry of India for their unique taste and aroma. About 150,000 hectares are under mango cultivation in the five districts. Violation of Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, attracts a jail term of six months and a steep fine.
Vivek Bhide, horticulturist and chief of the Konkan Hapus Amba Utpadak Ani Vikrate Sangh, said a crate of original Alphonso, consisting of about 60 mangoes, is sold at ₹1,000-1,200 (€12.90-15.48). A similar quantity from Karnataka goes for ₹300-400 (€3.87-5.16). Traders mix one Alphonso mango -capturing the aroma- with four of its Karnataka cousins and sell them all as Alphonsos.
Meanwhile, carbide-ripened mangoes seem to flood the Nellore district. Mangoes, ripened with calcium carbide from the Krishna district are available in the market, sporting a bitter taste with a chemical odour.