The wait for the king of fruits is going to be longer this year, as mangoes will only be available in the markets by April. Delayed flowering has delayed the arrival of the fruit, which normally starts hitting the stalls by mid March. However, in all probability, mangoes will be substantially cheaper due to a possible glut in the market April onwards.
In Maharashtra, Alphonso, better known as Hapus, starts arriving in markets of Pune and Mumbai by the end of February. Arrivals pick up substantially by mid March with the season tapering off by the end of May. Last year, the season had extended till the middle of June, with produce from Kerala feeding the market well beyond its normal season.
Both growers and traders have confirmed that, from this year, the fruit will be available only between April and May. Vidyadhar Joshi, a mango farmer from Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, said, this year, the orchards have failed to flower on time. “The first bud appeared between October and November and, instead of flowering, went towards vegetative growth,” he said.
At present, the orchards have flowered but fruit formation will take time. Joshi said it takes about 110 days for fruit formation and, thus, the first crop of fruit will be available only after April. “As of now, the condition of the crop is good and climatic conditions are also conducive for a good harvest. But, it’s too early to be optimistic about a good harvest as there would be incidents like fruit drop,” he added.
Similarly, Rohan Ursal, a trader in Pune’s wholesale market, said cyclone Okhi has delayed the flowering in the orchards of Karnataka and Kerala too. “Some consignments are coming to the market from Konkan but they are few and far between. We expect the arrivals to pick up only in April and in all probability the season will be over by May,” he said. The season is going to be a short one but prices will be low due to the sudden glut, he added.
Mangoes, especially Hapus, form an important component of India’s export basket. This year, too, the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board intends to increase its footprints in Iran, Australia and Korea. Last year, Alphonso mangoes were exported to these countries for the first time.
Officers of the Board said they aimed at increasing the quantity of exports to these countries. Taking into account the plans of increasing the export, hot water treatment facility at Vashi will commence operations from the beginning of the season. Also, the Board is trying to secure the presence of US inspector from April 1, to enhance exports to the country. Last year, the inspector had arrived by April 20, thereby delaying the exports significantly.