Maharashtra Alphonso mango growers are counting their losses as the second Covid wave exacerbates the impact of a series of knocks suffered since last year. These include the 2020 Covid lockdown, which came during the peak alphonso harvesting season, and the Cyclone Nisarga, which battered the Konkan coast in June last year.
Maharashtra, one of the states worst affected by the Covid pandemic, has currently imposed lockdown-like restrictions to check infections. While the sale of mangoes was exempted from weekend restrictions and allowed for a stipulated four-hour period, the highly perishable nature of the fruit has created challenges.
Theprint.in claims that, according to farmers, not only are they dealing with a crash in domestic demand, but exports have taken a sharp dip in the face of restrictions imposed on flights from India by some of the mango variety’s biggest markets, including the UAE and Europe. Add to it the farmers’ difficulty accessing treatments mandated for exported crops, and cost surges on account of labour and transportation.
Sindhri or anwar ratol varieties
Indian mango lovers will have to wait for another 20 days to eat fully ripened mangoes, particularly the sindhri or anwar ratol varieties. These varieties should be available by late May or the first week of June.
The harvesting of mango varieties like saroli has started and these have reached Punjab’s markets. However, the harvested produce lacks colour and taste, as they were harvested prematurely. The produce that reached the market did fetch a better price but rates dropped as more supplies were made by contractors of mango orchards. The arrival of Punjab’s mango crop into the market begins late.
One grower told dawn.com he let out his farm to a contractor who opted for early harvesting of fruit in neighbouring orchard of 100 acres. “I told him the mangoes he is harvesting won’t have taste at this point of time and it’s early to pluck them. But he shot back saying that he is fetching a better price,” he said.