Maharashtra: Wait more this year for a good supply of Alphonso

PUNE Mango Lovers will have to wait almost a month and a half more this year for their favorite Alphonso to reach the markets in good quantities.

It is likely that an estimate of the department revealed will produce around 1.30,000 tons of the fruit in March-April compared to 1.53,000 tons during the same period last year. The drop in supplies during the initial period of the mango season has been caused by a delay in the flowering process due to the prolonged rainy season last year.

Unlike the past, mangoes are not expected to flood the markets this March and growers said there would be almost an 80% shortage of the fruit during the month because of the delay in flowering in the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg mango belt. Mango es usually start reaching the markets after mid-February. By March, the markets receive mangoes in good quantities.

Vidyadhar Joshi, director of Devgad Taluka Mango Growers ’Association, told TOI that not even 10% flowering of mango trees has so far started in Konkan - right from Raigad to Vengurla. “Konkan recorded heavy and prolonged rain last year. The extended rainy season stopped the flowering stage in mango trees and caused a vegetative flush. The flowering started only recently and the rate is slow. The flowering process is expected to continue during almost the entire February and March, ”he said.

Mango fruits begin to develop only after the flowers are pollinated. “This means that there will be almost 80-90% shortage in mango supplies during February end and March in comparison to what these months normally get. Supplies will be almost 50% less than normal in April too, while a glut will hit the markets in May, ”Joshi said.

Vivek Bhide, president of the Konkan Mango Growers and Sellers’ Association, said, “This seems to be the first time in many years that the arrival of mangoes in normal quantities into the markets may be delayed so much. The result will be 70-80% less supplies in March. Three conditions are needed during end of October to November 10 for mango flowering— ‘waaphasa' (mixture of 50 % air and 50 % water vapour in the cavities between two soil particles), night temperatures below 20ºC and appropriate wind flow. These conditions have to occur simultaneously. This did not happen in 2019 October-November.”

Mandar Desai, an Alphonso grower in Ratnagiri, said, “In comparison to last year, we may see a 70% shortage of the fruit in March this year. Usual mango stocks may start trickling in after April 20. People may face a shortage of mangoes during the two major festivals — Gudi Padwa (March 25) and Akshaya Tritiya (April 26) — when the demand for the fruit is high in .”

S K Godse, a retired professor at Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, said: “For mango trees to flourish, constant cold temperatures are needed for 10-15 days. This has not happened since November-December last year.