March 16, 2021 9:17:18 pm
In the year since Hapus mango – the popular produce from Konkan – was granted the Geographical Indicator (GI) tag, 365 farmers across Maharashtra have enrolled their orchards for use of the tag. At least 69 other groups, which include traders, exporters, buyers and sellers, have also applied for and are using the GI tag.
Thanks to the rocky soil structure of the region, Hapus or Alphonso from Konkan has a unique flavour and aroma, which sets it apart from similar mango varieties in Karnataka. Hapus growers in the Konkan have long been protesting against the use of the name by other parts of the state.
At the start of the mango season, stalls and handcarts are often overflowing with sellers claiming their produce as the Ratnagiri Hapus. A slight difference in shape and colour is the only way aficionados differentiate between produce from the two states. Mango growers in Maharashtra have protested against the use of the term Hapus by other growers. The GI tag, farmers hope, will help stop other growers from using the name.
Meanwhile, a short season has put a question mark over exports and out of market sales. More than 12,500 farmers have registered for Mangonet – the tracability programme for exports. This will be the highest such registration with 9,000 farmers exclusively growing Hapus.
Sunil Pawar, managing director of the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB), said they are trying to get more and more Hapus growers to register their farms under GI tag.
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MSAMB’s export facilitation centres have become ready for the season but are not very optimistic about good exports. Given the ongoing pandemic, question marks have been raised on how phyto-sanitary inspectors from the US or other countries will travel to India to oversee the process.
Last season, the start of the pandemic had put brakes on exports even though farmers had reported better than average yields. Only 17,552 tonne of mangoes had left the country as compared to the 49,659 tonne exported during the 2019-20 season.
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