The Mango season has begun in Maharashtra, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, mango farmers and resellers from five coastal districts that includes Thane, Raigad, Greater Bombay, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg. have chosen a new marketing strategy.
Instead of selling in large Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) markets like Mumbai or Pune, they decided to sell directly to the buyers within the state or in other states like Gujarat and Delhi. During the previous regime, Maharashtra expelled the sale of fruits and vegetables from the ambit of the APMC.
According to Amar Desai, CEO of Desai Products, this year’s mango farmers and resellers have chosen to directly market and sell the fruits to other clients after learning from last year’s shock caused by Covid-induced lockdown. Almost 40% of Alphonso mango farmers have chosen this non-APMC route to sell their fruits. Desai Products is a large fruit processing company based in Pawas, Ratnagiri’s coastal district.
More than 1.5 lakh hectares of the GI-tagged Alphonso mangoes are primarily grown in the five coastal districts of the state. The mangoes, which have a distinct flavour and aroma, are sold in boxes by the dozens. Each box can hold 4-9 dozen mangoes, depending on their quality and size.
Arrivals and prices
Last year, as prices for the best mangoes fell to 3,000-3,500 per box, which contains about 4-5 dozen mangoes, Only a few carefully chosen varieties fetched 4,000. Today’s wholesale market rates range from ₹1,500 (9 dozen) to ₹4,500, depending on quality (5 dozen).
Vivek Bhide, a former member of the Maharashtra Horticulture Board and mango cultivator and expert, claims that direct sales are much higher and take place through a variety of channels, including large housing societies.
According to Sanjay Panasare, a fruit trader and Director of the Navi Mumbai APMC board, mango farmers continue to assess the situation in the APMC markets through regular calls to the fruit traders and, based on the rates, decide whether to supply the APMC markets or large private traders in locations such as Surat, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, or Pune.
Arrivals have not been in large numbers at Navi Mumbai APMC, which serves the Mumbai metropolitan region, but supply has remained consistent. The Navi Mumbai APMC is expecting nearly 4 lakh boxes by the end of March.