Alphonso mangoes are being sold at Rs 600-800 a dozen in retail,which sellers said was around 25-40 per cent lower than prices the fruit commanded in April last year. Around the same time last year,some Alphonsos were even priced as high as Rs 1,200 a dozen. The lower prices this year,sellers say,is because of the examination season that kicked off later than usual because of the civic polls.
At Gultekdi market,850 boxes of Alphonso,350 boxes of Konkani varieties and 500 of Madras and Bangalore varieties,have arrived. Mango traders are hoping that prices will stabilise once the school /college examinations are over.
According to traders,prices of raw Alphonsos have gone down by Rs 500-700 per box while ripe ones are being sold at Rs 100-200 lower as compared to last week. Ripe Alphonsos are being sold at Rs 2,000-4,500 per box (4 dozen) in wholesale and Rs 600-800 per dozen in retail. A small box comprising 4 to 6 dozen raw Alphonsos are being sold at Rs 1,500 to 3,000 while a bigger box of 4 to 6 dozens is priced at Rs 2,000 to 4,000.
Yogesh Desai,a trader from Gultekdi Market,said,Though there isnt any increase in arrival of Alphonsos this year,the demand is substantially low due to the current examination season. We are hoping that next week onwards demand would go up. The increase in demand may not have an impact on market prices as by then the arrival of Ratnagiri and Devgadh varieties from Konkan reason would increase. At the most,it may stabilise the prices.
Ankush Khonde,in-charge of the fruit and vegetable section of APMC,however,said if the climate remains favourable,it may result in a good harvest of the fruit in May and hence increase chances of arrival from Konkan region. This could further reduce prices. Last year,due to erratic conditions such as heavy and untimely rainfall,sudden fluctuations in temperature,the Alphonso crop in Konkan had suffered over 30 per cent dip in production. As a result the city market had witnessed a sharp rise in prices of Alphonsos with a dozen mangoes being sold at Rs 800-1200.
A hailstorm that had taken place on Monday might cause considerable crop loss resulting in low harvest in May,growers fear. The hailstorm damaged immature fruits. It would bring down production at least by 10 per cent. If the weather remains humid,it may also cause disease like Powdery Mildew resulting in further crop loss, said Anand Desai,an Alphonso grower from Ratnagiri.