Pune: For many, the only reason to welcome a scorching-hot April is for the simple lure of mangoes. The arrival of India’s favourite fruit is much-awaited, but the coronavirus pandemic has turned the tables.
For the first time in recent history, the demand for Alphonso mangoes has reduced. Due to the outbreak and the ongoing lockdown, mango growers have been affected due to the reduced demand in the market and poor export demand.
To cement the loss, Alphonso growers from Ratnagiri have started a door-to-door delivery service in societies. “The supply was good, but there was less demand due to the lockdown. Many stall owners have shut their shops. The temperature is also increasing, and we cannot stock the fruits for a long time. It has resulted in low wholesale rate. Normally in April, the prime rate is Rs 1,000 per dozen while this year, it has reduced to Rs 200-300 per dozen. Even after reducing the rate, there is hardly any demand,” said Yuvraj Kanchi, Head of Fruit Section and Vice-President of Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Market Yard Aadte Association.
Kanchi also mentioned that there was a lack of demand for other seasonal fruits such as watermelon and muskmelon.
“The extended rainfall has already delayed the season and affected production. There is no demand from the exporters too. To beat this, we have started a door-to-door delivery service at society gates. Till now we have delivered over 300 boxes of Ratnagiri hapus in five societies in Pune,” said Uday Joshi of Kelshi Parisar Amba Utpadak Sangh, Dapoli in Ratnagiri District.
Joshi further said, “Societies can connect with us via phone and place the order. We need a minimum order of 30 boxes from each society to deliver. It is not giving us prime rates, but at least our produce won’t get wasted.”
“The season of Devgad hapus starts in the last week of March which got affected due to the lockdown. This year, we hardly got prime rates, and since there is a lack of demand, the rates have been very less. Besides, there is no export. All these factors are taking a toll on the growers,” said Ajit Gogate, Chairman of Devgad taluka Mango Growers Co-operative Society.
Gogate said that they are also planning to start a door-to-door facility of delivering mangoes at societies.
“The export is affected as airlines are not in operation. However, export is continued through the ships. The export of mangoes from the State started since April 5. As many as nine containers have been exported through the ship, mostly to Arab countries. The export to Europe and America has been affected,” said Govind Hande, Technical Advisor, Agri Export Cell, Commissionerate of Agriculture.