After a disappointing 2015 due to vagaries of nature, mango growers in the state are hoping for a 15 per cent increase in exports this year. Although the European Union lifted ban on Indian mangoes last year, unseasonal rains destroyed more than 40 per cent of the crop right at the flowering stage.
While the mango season starts officially in March, the first mango of the season arrived at the Vashi market yard last weekend.
Back in 2014, the European Union had decided to ban the import of Indian Mangoes due the presence of fruit fly in the product. Alphonso mangoes, which is grown in the Konkan region of Mahrashtra and in various parts of Karnataka, form the bulk of exports to EU countries. Kesar, Langda and other varieties grown in other parts of the country form the rest. Around 15 per cent of mangoes export are directed at the EU countries.
Figures released by Agricultural and Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA) show 42,998 quintals of mango worth Rs 302.54 crore were exported from the country last year. Maharashtra constitutes around 25 per cent of the exports approximately. Last year, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nepal were the major export destinations.
Mango growers in the state say the climatic conditions till now has been conducive for a bumper crop. Ajit Goggate, chairman of the the Devgad Mangoes (a cooperative body of mango growers in Devgad taluka of Sindhudurg district in the state) said they expected an yield of around 70,000 metric tonnes in Sindhudurg alone this year. “In case there are no vagrancies of nature, we will see a bumper crop this year,” he said.
This year, the usual pests and diseases which attack mango orchards during January were also absent.
Two years ago, the state government had announced the starting of Mangonet on the lines of Grapenet, an internet-based residue tracibility software which allows end-to-end monitoring of crops. This year, 3,716 farms have registered on the software of which 2,700 are from Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, the first mangoes of the season hit both the Vashi and Pune market yards last weekend. Ashok Hande, a trader operating at the Vashi market yard, said the first mango was offered to the Siddhivinayak temple as per their custom. “We had received five dozen mangoes and the quality was good,” he said. Hande said they expected a 15 per cent rise in the exports with the EU markets opening up. “Volume-wise, it might not look much, but price realization is better in EU markets than other markets, where it is 25 per cent higher,” he said.
Similarly, Rohan Ursal, a trader operating in the Pune market yard, said they hoped for an early start to the season. Ursal said the domestic season would start after February 15 while the exports would also start early. “Ratnagiri mangoes will start early this year. But the Karnataka mangoes might be delayed,” he said. Ursal said they had received six petis of four dozen each of Lalbaugh variety from Tumkur district of Karnataka on Wednesday. “Each peti was sold at Rs 1,111 and the quality of the mangoes was also good,” he said.