March 15, 2009 10:51:15 pm
The untimely showers on Friday that brought a breather from the soaring mercury has given rise to fears in Konkan region,including Ratnagiri district which is home to the famous Alphonso variety,that the rain may harm the mango crop.
However,most mango traders and farmers feel that a couple of showers after Holi is customary and in fact make things more favourable for mango to ripen quickly. However,if the rain continues for the next few days,it may spell the doom for the mango crop,they add.
A single day of rain will not have much effect on the crop. Even though it rained here on Friday,it was not heavy. We will lose the crop only if the downpour continues for the next few days. If that happens,the mangoes get black stains and the quality of the fruit drops, said Mahesh Shinde,a farmer from Chanderai village,10 km from Ratnagiri,who has been transporting mangoes to Mumbai,Pune and Surat markets for years now.
Yogesh Desai of Desai Bandhu Ambewale says a spell of rain immediately after Holi is a regular occurrence and good for the ready-to-be-plucked fruits. Ratnagiri is regarded the most prolific mango production centre in Maharashtra contributing about 50 per cent to the states output.
The finest mangoes come from Devgad and are also exported to other countries. Vengurla in Sindhudurg district is the next favourite variety. Desai says the total mango turnout this season would be average.
The top-quality succulent Alphonso mangoes from the coastal district of Ratnagiri have already started arriving in the Pune market in small quantities and are priced at Rs 800 to Rs 1,500 for four dozen to six dozen boxes. The retail price for Ratnagiri Alphonsos in the city is around Rs 400 at present.
By April first week,more Alphonsos and other varieties including payari would start rolling in, says Shivlal Bhosale,a wholesale fruit trader at the Gultekdi market yard.
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