Despite the lockdown, mango farmers in the Konkan region of Maharashtra did quite well this year. Breaking from the set practice of selling their produce to middlemen, they sold their produce of Alphonso mangoes to consumers, directly. That saw the farmers bag between ₹800 and ₹1,000 more for every box of three to six dozen mangoes, depending on the size of the fruit.
Districts including Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Raigad are known for the Alphonso variety. The mango season starts in March and continues till mid-June. However, the spread of Covid-19 followed by the lockdown put mango growers in a tight spot.
As the traditional supply chain dominated by middlemen broke down due to the lockdown, the state government asked farmers to take their produce directly to consumers in other parts of the state. Special passes were issued by the government to the farmers who transported the fruit.
A win for consumers as well
Consumers are getting mangoes at a cheaper price than before, as the middlemen sold the fruit at much higher prices. Like Dagre, the majority of farmers in Devgad taluka reaped benefits from the permission granted by the state government. Middlemen don’t pay cash immediately and farmers have to wait for the payment. But now farmers are getting immediate returns in this new supply system.
In Raigad district, the farmers formed a WhatsApp group named ‘Direct fruit supply’ and connected with the consumers. Through this platform, farmers have sold about 5,000 dozen mangoes till now. Deciding to keep aside some amount from this money to help in the fight against Covid-19, these mango farmers donated ₹10,000 to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, ₹9,200 to the District Disaster Management Cell, ₹10,000 to Belapur Municipal Corporation to buy medicines, and ₹10,000 to an NGO. Farmers also assisted members of the tribal community in Uran to buy seeds for sowing.
[ ₹100 = €1.20 ]