It is finally that time of the year when mango, the king of fruits, hits peak season, and Mumbaikars are looking at relishing its sweetness, especially the much-coveted Alphonso. However, this season, it continues to be priced beyond the reach of most households. To make matters worse, the market is flooded with chemically ripened Alphonsos and artificial ones from Karnataka.
“Last year by this time, Alphonsos were available at about Rs. 400 a dozen. This season the standard Ratnagiri Alphonsos are retailed at around Rs. 600, premium ones at about Rs. 800 and supreme grades at Rs. 1100. The Devgadh counterparts, meanwhile, come at about Rs. 650, Rs. 850 and Rs. 1200,” says Rajiv Tevtiya, co-founder and CEO,
greencart.in, a Mumbai based online portal specializing in fresh produce and gourmet food. It has recently come out with its own range of branded Alphonso mangoes.
“Due to an extended winter, the mango season started late this year. The Alphonsos need a stroke of heat for them to mature properly. The weather affected the bulk of the crops and resulted in a drop in quality. While mangoes are available in the market, quality Alphonsos are in short supply. To overcome the shortage, many retailers are selling below par fruits or Karnataka mangoes as Alphonsos,” he adds.
Mangoes of a particular variety that grow in the coastal belt of Konkan and certain areas of South Gujarat are called Alphonsos. The soil, the climate, the proximity to the sea, the wind and the temperature that the crop are exposed to are some of the key factors that determine their texture, aroma, colour and flavour. Alphonso mangoes from Devgad are said to be the best followed by those from the neighboring Ratnagiri. Valsad, Murud Janjira and Sindhudurg are also known to provide quality Alphonsos.
Rajiv Tevtiya goes on to add that Greencart’s expertise in the agri-business helps the brand to select the best products from orchards in Devgad and Ratnagiri. “Our mangoes differ from those available at local vendors. They are hand graded for standardization and naturally ripened at Government approved ripening chambers. Natural ripening is a long and intensive process that incurs substantial costs. So most vendors resort to ripening the mangoes artificially by using a banned toxic powder called Calcium Carbide, which are known to cause severe health damages. Our mangoes come with a carbide free guarantee,” says Rajiv Tevtiya.
“A drop in prices is expected in a week