Beware! Karnataka Hapus being sold as Devgad
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Pune: Mango sellers from Ratnagiri and Devgad in Sindhudurg who have set up stalls at Market Yard and other spots in the city say they are forced to sell their produce at lower costs following steep competition from Alphonso sellers from Karnataka.
As a result of this, Alphonso mangoes from Konkan, which sold for as high as Rs 1,000 per dozen last week, have dropped to Rs 400-800 a dozen. To make things worse, the growers are now complaining that the sellers from Karnataka are misleading consumers and selling their ware as Devgad or Ratnagiri Hapus, catching customers unawares as only a few are able to differentiate Alphonso mangoes from Konkan and those from Karnataka.
According to the figures provided by Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), till date, 1,62,216 boxes of Alphonso mangoes arrived in the market from Karnataka as compared to 54,074 from Konkan. Similarly, of the juicy Payri variant, only 3,699 baskets arrived from Konkan as compared to 11,097 from Karnataka.
Officials from Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board said that Alphonso mangoes have a thin skin as compared to their counterparts from Karnataka. This variant has a strong flavour and orange-yellow pulp and is roundish in shape.
An official said, “If one cuts an Alphonso variant from Konkan, it emanates strong aroma unlike the one from Karnataka.” The official also said that the Karnataka Alphonso mangoes, which are being sold in the State currently, are of the same variant as that of Konkan, from saplings which were once planted in Karnataka.
He added, “However, the red laterite rock and salt content in the air due to proximity to sea shore in Konkan gives Alphonso mangoes found here its distinct flavour.”
Uday Khanwilkar, a mango grower and seller in the city, claimed that Karnataka variants have a thick covering and a faint aroma. Another grower, Dheeraj Bane, who has set up a stall in the MSAMB premises at Market Yard, said that Alphonso mangoes from Devgad have a distinct aroma and flavour which the Karnataka variant lacks.
Jyoti Bolande added that mango growers from Konkan area are currently facing steep competition from sellers from Karnataka and that they are forced to sell mangoes at a lower price. “If consumers insist on buying mangoes at a cheaper rate, they are likely to get mangoes from Karnataka as these mangoes are sold at as low as Rs 200 per dozen. The State government needs to take some measures to stop this,” said Bolande.
Senior MSAMB official added that unless the Alphonso mangoes from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Thane and Raigad get geographical identification, the sellers from Karnataka cannot be stopped from selling their fruits as Ratnagiri and Devgad Hapus.
Pune Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Chairman Dilipkumar Khaire said that as compared to last year, due to climatic condition fewer mangoes have arrived in the market. He added that APMC has issued instructions to traders to avoid using hazardous chemicals to ripen the mangoes.