First mangoes sell for Rs 2,500-5,000 a box

Feb 08, 2013, 07:25 IST | Richa Pinto

The good news is that mango season has set in early this year, with an affordable array expected in March. The bad news is, production cost of the fruit has shot up by 25%

Mango lovers may have to fork out a little more this season, as the production cost of the king of fruits has gone up by roughly 25 per cent, which is likely to hoist up its market price. The pinch can be felt already. If you go shopping at the Vashi APMC (Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee) market one of these days, a box of mangoes will cost you anywhere between Rs 2,500 and Rs 5,000, for four to 10 dozens. Come March the onset of high season projected for this year the price surge is expected to soften.

Alphonso mangoes
Costly Alphonso mangoes from Devgad arrive at Crawford Market yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan

The various kinds of mangoes coming to the market at this time include Alphonso, Lalbaugh, Badami, and Pairi. Around eight tonnes of Alphonsos have been arriving at the market from places like Ratnagiri, Devgad and Vengurla on a daily basis. The other varieties come from southern states like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Besides the Alphonso, around four to five tonnes of Lalbaugh and 100 kg of Pairis have also been coming daily. Factors pushing up the production cost include cost of pesticides, diesel, labour charges and transportation.

Sanjay Pansare, wholesale trader of mangoes and director of Vashi APMC’s fruit market, said, “The season of mangoes has begun early this time, as compared to last year when it took off after April 10. Reasonably-priced mangoes will arrive March onward this year. “But the production cost has gone up this year, as the prices of daily commodities have risen drastically, leading labour to demand extra wages for sustenance. Then, diesel prices have gone up, which has made transportation more expensive. Moreover, one has to spend almost Rs 400 on pesticides on a single box of mangoes.”

Pansare says that there are no voluminous sales as of now since people generally wait for prices to drop rather than buying the fruit at this time. Though the affluent do purchase mango boxes for gifting purposes. “When these boxes are to be given as gifts with wedding invites, we make it a point to decorate them using gelatin paper and colourful paper flowers, due to which the price increases,” said Pansare, who has already received orders for gift boxes from areas in South Mumbai.

Ram Morde, a mango retailer at Crawford Market, said, “Only elite classes can afford mangoes during this season. In case there’s a wedding, we are generally in touch with the caterer who takes mangoes in bulk from us. They are then supplied at marriage functions, which take place at areas like Mahalaxmi racecourse and Marine Drive. I supply 10-20 dozens of mangoes per day.”

Then there are a few locals like Navi Mumbai’s NRI Sandeep Bangia who is known to take Alphonso mangoes as gifts for his friends and relatives in the country when he visits them. “During April-May, luggage trolleys piled with mango boxes are a common sight at airports. My friends back in Delhi have requested me to get them Alphonso whenever I go there. I also take fruits as presents for my relatives.”

Would you spend Rs 2,500 for a box of mangoes now or wait till the prices dip?

I hail from Jaitapur in Konkan where we grow mango trees. Mangoes during this season are not very tasty and I would rather wait than spend so much. This is not the best season to buy mangoes as they may not be ripe.
Amod Tahmankar, businessman

I love mangoes but would not indulge in them at such a high cost. If the fruit has arrived in the market early this year, there are chances that chemicals were used to ripen it early, which would have an effect on health.
Meena Srikanth, gynaecologist

I absolutely love mangoes but would never buy them at such a high rate. Once the season sets in, I am sure the market will be flooded with a lot of tasty and fully ripe varieties.
Gargi Chugh, IT professional

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