This season appears to be an ill-omened one for mango farmers as well as mango lovers in the state. After an extended winter, which led to the flowering of the fruit, and out-of-season downpours, it is pests, particularly thrips, which are affecting the crop in the Konkan region. The triad of disturbances has quashed all hopes of farmers of having a quality fruit to sell and sustain themselves through.
Sanjay Shirkekar, a mango farmer from Devgad, a region renowned for its Alphonso variety, said, “We had anticipated optimum production of mangoes — in terms of quality and quantity — by April-May. However, recent rains have spoilt the crop in Konkan. Furthermore, most of the fruit has either fallen off the trees or developed various diseases due to thrips. Thrips are small insects, which suck all the nutrients from the fruits, leaving them tasteless and odourless. This has led to a financial crisis as we are not going to recover our money, which we have invested in mango this year.”
Subhash Dumre, a trader at Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), Vashi, said, “Since the supply of mangoes is low this season, we had expected rates to go up by the end of April or in May, as better quality fruit was expected in these months. But now we have come to know that unseasonal showers and pestilential attacks have ruined the crop. With a inferior quality fruit hitting the market, prices won’t be as high as we expected.”
Consumers have been put off with the unpalatable yield. Some have even sworn it off unless a better crop hits the market. Ibrahim Ujjainwala, a mango lover, said, “I found mango to be costly this year. Also, the quality isn’t that great. The recent showers have spoilt mango cultivation across the state.”
For the last few days, the APMC market has been receiving just 2,000 boxes of mangoes a day, against the annual usual of 10,000. Traders are charging anywhere between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000 per box.