Mango growers in Maharashtra are up in arms against the “rampant usage” of the term Alphonso by mango growers in other states. Growers from the state claim that this is a misuse of the sobriquet as only mangoes grown in the five districts of Palghar, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Thane and Raigad can be sold under that name.
Alphonso or Hapus is called the ‘king of mangoes’ because of its unique taste and texture. It fetches a good price in domestic and international markets. Originally, mangoes grown in the Konkan region of the state were known by this name but over the years, other states such as Karnataka and Kerala have also started growing this fruit.
During the mango season, produce from these states flood the market and are sold as ‘Alphonsos’. The availability of these ‘Alphonsos’ hits the market share of the mangoes from Maharashtra and even lowers their price.
Chandrakant Mokal, president of the Maharashtra State Mango Growers Association, said growers from the state have demanded separate stalls for their produce in wholesale markets. “Arrivals from across the country reach the mandis and traders sell all the produce under the name of Alphonso. We are demanding that they sell our produce separately and do not mix it with produce from other states,” he said.
The growers will also try to raise awareness among the public about the difference between the produce from different states.
Last year, Alphonso mangoes from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Palghar, Thane and Raigad districts of Maharashtra were registered as Geographical Indication (GI). A Geographical Indication or GI is an indication used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are linked to that origin. In simpler terms, the term ‘Alphonso’ can be used only for mangoes grown in these regions and mangoes of different origins will not be allowed to use the term.
Omkar Sapre, adviser and chief marketing officer of the Devgad Taluka Amba Utpadak Sahakari Sanstha, a cooperative body of mango growers, said they have started registering mango growers from the region. “100-odd growers have already registered this year and we aim to cover all the growers from the region by the beginning of next season,” he said.
Sapre said usage of the term Alphonso by non-origin growers will henceforth be illegal and can be treated as an infringement of the trademark. “From next season, we will send out legal notices if we find such infringements,” he said.