Arrival of Alphonso mangoes this year is likely to get delayed by at least a month since the flowering has been hit due to erratic weather conditions in the key producing regions of Maharashtra.
Of the total mango exports from the country, Kesar accounts for 50-55%, Bangnapalli accounts for some 30%, Hapus or Alphonso another 13-15% and the remaining 40 other varieties account for the last 9-10% of the total outbound shipment.
Arrival of Alphonso mangoes this year is likely to get delayed by at least a month since the flowering has been hit due to erratic weather conditions in the key producing regions of Maharashtra. Normally, the mango orchards in Konkan region see flowering happen in full bloom across December. But this time, the prolonged rains that continued till October end in this region and also the delay in winter that is required for the flowers to bloom has hit the mango growers hard, Vivek Bhide, chairman, Konkan Alphonso Mango Growers Association (KAMGA)- a cooperative body of mango growers on Ratnagiri district said.
“The flowering cycle has been hurt by the long monsoon and this could delay the crop arrivals in the market by over a month, he said. Bhide pointed out that normally around 20% of the flowering happens in December. “Just 5-6 % of the orchards would have market-ready fruits by March. But this time the arrivals are likely to be delayed to late April,” he said.
Growers said that the flowering is now likely to take place in January since weather has been playing spoilsport the entire month. The Konan region saw cloudy weather and rainy weather, which was followed by a temperature drop that led to replanting of some of the plants.
The flowering usually gives an indication to growers about the crop quantity and quality which has not happened this time. Ajit Gogate, chairman, Devgad Alphonso Mango Growers Association — another cooperative of mango growers in Devgad taluka — said that it will be difficult to make estimates about the total crop production because the flowering has not happened fully yet.
Usually, the fruit starts hitting the market by early March. But with only 5% of the trees in the coastal districts beginning to flower, ripening of the fruit may not happen in March. Alphonso is growing in some 1.5 lakh hectares in the state in regions including Ratnagiri, Sindudurg, Raigad, Palghar and Thane. Traditionally, the Alphonso season is between March and May. With the onset of the monsoon, consumers stop eating the fruit. During peak season, Alphonso costs around `2,000 per dozen in the retail market. Recently, the growers from Konkan had won GI tag for their produce, meaning growers from other regions can’t brand their produce as Hapus or Alphonso.