‘Every year customers wait for this fruit, this is first time the king of fruits is waiting for buyers’, Mango trade affected farmers in Maharashtra struggle to reach market

Mango’s biggest business place, Ratnagiri has four positive case of Covid-19. This leads the mango business goes very down. Many farmers having a difficulties for finding customer for their fruit business.

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A Farmer from Ratnagiri, Devdutta Patil said that every year his customer wait for mango, but this is the first time in his 30 year of fruit business a fruit is waiting for a customers.

On Sunday night, his son Vikram Patil, supervised 72 boxes which was containing two dozen of mangoes. For the first dispatch to Mumbai in this season, with some ease of the lockdown starting from next day. As his four member or workers placed Alphonso or Hapus as it is called locally in layers of hay. Vikram said boxes were headed for the APMC market in Vashi, Navi Mumbai, about 340 km away. Their agent informed them about re-opening of market in Mumbai.
He said ‘We are readying about 1,000 boxes, last year we sold 2,500.’

Vivek Bhide, who is the president of Konkan Hapus Amba Utpadak va Utpadak-Vikrete Sahakari Sanstha, they estimates that the three district of Konkan is producing 3.5 lakh metric tones of mangoes each year. Ratnagiri has orchards which are spread over 65,000 hectares, producing 1.3 lakh tones of the fruit every year.

Over 30,000 to 40,000 metric tones of mangoes from Konkan are exported to foreign countries like Europe, Australia, Japan and United States every year. This year, the demand of mangoes from foreign countries also decreases because of covid-19 pandemic.

Amid the lockdown, farmers of mangoes reached to government for facilitating the retail sale of Alphonso in major districts including Mumbai, Pune and Thane.

A peti (box of four to seven dozen mangoes) prizes are from Rs 800 to Rs 2000, which are not lower or price is not an issue. The issue is supply chain of this fruit, which has been dramatically decreased because of covid-19 pandemic. Vivek Bhide said ‘usually by April 20, farmers have sold 50 percent of their produce.’

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Amar Desai whose grandfather set up the famous mango shop Desaibandhu Ambewale in Pune in 1932 said not only the fruit mangoes but a number of small entrepreneurs in Ratnagiri who are in trade of mango product like sweets, pulp and bottled juices are also affected.

Umesh Lanjekar, who’s the proprietor of Anish Farms in Ratnagiri, who’s the first in Konkan to produce an X-ray machine to detect spongy tissue in the mango said ‘Though the administration issued passes for trucks to take the product to Mumbai, forwarding agents were not available agents were not available to do the paperwork for exports.’

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Sunil Pawar, the managing director of the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB), said ‘We have also started sending vehicles to districts like Satara, Nashik, Sangli and Kolhapur for farmers to sell to consumers there.’

Pawar said around 3000 tonnes of mangoes have been already sent to buyers in other cities via the Board’s intervention, while around 2,235 tonnes have left for markets abroad mainly the Midlle East, from its Vashi treatment centre.

Sunil Pawar said, ‘Similar interventions are being carried out by the agricultural department as well as other organization like the Konkan vikas sanstha. Some of the wholesale traders have even tied up with food delivery applications like Zomato to home deliver mangoes.’

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