Mango growers in the state have sought compensation for the losses incurred due to crop damage and loss of market to cheaper varieties from Karnataka. In a letter to the state government, Maharashtra Mango Growers Association president Chandrakant Mokal said that low prices and a spike in the cost of production had pushed growers into financial losses.
According to Mokal, while the first harvest of the famed Alphonso or Hapus from the orchards of Konkan had reached the wholesale markets here after February 15 this year, the produce from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh had arrived in the wholesale markets earlier.
Mangoes from other states, Mokal said, retail at lower prices, given the slightly inferior quality of the produce. “Such mangoes are inferior to Alphonsos produced in Maharashtra and are sold per kg, while the mangoes produced in the state are sold in boxes of 4-5 dozens each, making them costlier,” he said.
Given the higher margins in the trade of produce from Karnataka due to the sheer volume, traders and commission agents here push such produce than the costlier mangoes produced in the state. “It is ironic that despite Maharashtra-grown mangoes getting the GI tag, farmers here have to suffer losses,” he said. A geographical indication (GI) tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users are allowed to use a popular product name.
Growers have now sought government intervention to make it mandatory for traders to specify the place of origin on boxes of mangoes before selling them. Mokal, in his letter to the state government, also pointed out that mango orchards in the state have faced the vagaries of nature, which slashed production by 30-32 per cent. Due to increased pest attacks, he said, farmers had to use more chemicals, which in turn pushed up their cost of production.
“Instead of six spraying, growers had to take eight-10 spraying, which had pushed up the cost of production by Rs 5,000-6,000 per acre,” Mukal stated.