Lookalike mango gives Mumbai a sour deal

Mar 10, 2013, 04:06 IST | Richa Pinto

A pretender from Karnataka that looks similar to the famed Devgad Alphonso is giving customers a raw deal across Mumbai. Following several complaints about unscrupulous vendors mixing the two mangoes and selling them to unsuspecting customers, wholesalers at Vashi's APMC have decided to upload photographs of the two varieties as well as ways to distinguish between them, on their website

If you have recently bought a kilo of yummy looking Devgad mangoes and shelled out Rs 250 only to go home and find that some of the fruits are terribly sour, it’s time you took your fruit seller to task. He has been surreptitiously slipping in a few mangoes that belong to a different branch of the family, costs much less, but looks strikingly similar to its sweet tasting cousin.

While Devgad mangoes have relatively thin skin and a saffron pulp, the cheaper variety has a yellowish tinge and a thicker skin

After the wholesale mango sellers at Vashi’s Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) received several complaints about the lookalike mango, the committee’s bosses have now decided to take matters into their own hands. Different photographs of the two varietals as well as ways to distinguish between the two mangoes, will soon be put up on the APMC website.

Mango, APMC Market,vendor
Customers from across the city have complained to the APMC about retailers attempting to pass off an inferior mango for the higher quality ones from Devgad

The APMC authorities first woke up to the problem after receiving dozens of complaints from mango lovers around the city about retailers passing off mangoes from Karnataka as Devgad Alphonso mangoes. While the Devgad mangoes have a saffron-coloured pulp and a sweet aroma, the cheaper variety looks similar from outside though it does not have the same aroma and has a yellowish pulp. But without slicing the mango, it’s hard to tell the difference, say experts. Currently 4000 boxes of Devgad mangoes have arrived at the APMC market. A few thousand boxes of the mangoes from Karnataka have also arrived at the same time.

Sanjay Pansare, a wholesale trader of mangoes and director of the Vashi APMC fruit market, said, “Devgad mangoes are priced higher at around Rs 250 per kg. Although the number of mangoes coming from the southern states is lower, but we expect their numbers to increase by mid-March. At such times retailers are known to mix Devgad mangoes with those from the south and sell them to customers. We are not against mangoes from Karnataka being sold, but we do not want customers to be cheated by retailers.” Shaken by this clever fraud giving the trade a bad name, the association has decided to educate buyers about the difference between the two varieties.

“Devgad mangoes do not have a thick skin like the ones from Karnataka. It also gives out a much sweeter aroma compared to the other variety. Customers should smell each mango before buying and also check the skin texture, since they look similar from the outside” said Pansare. Ram Morde, a mango seller from Crawford market said, “While everyone loves mangoes, it is often impossible for the common man to distinguish between the two varieties. It is best if customers ask sellers to slice the mango in front of them so that they can check for the saffron pulp.”  While Devgad mangoes could cost Rs 250 per kg, the other variety is sold at Rs 100 per kg. “In order to make customers aware we are planning to post the distinguishing factors of both the varieties online in the days to come,” said Pansare.

This year mangoes entered the Mumbai market relatively early in January. Presently 8000-9000 boxes of mangoes come in every day to the APMC market from the Konkan region, Alibaug, Ratnagiri and Murud and are being sold anywhere between Rs 1500-Rs 4000 per box. The demand for mangoes is expected to rise post Holi. 

Know the Devgad Alphonso
The Devgad Alphonso or Hapus can be identified by its saffron-yellow colour and thin skin. It has no fibre content and unlike other mangoes it can be peeled like a banana, without pulling out the kernel

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