Prices of the dussehri mango, which has earned the Geographical Indication (GI) tag, have hit a five-year peak-season low in the local market of Uttar Pradesh. This is despite the fact that production of the fruit has been limited this year due to bad weather.
After effects of the Covid-19 lockdown crisis, lack of overseas orders and dearth of demand in the domestic market are threatening to leave mango growers of UP with huge losses. The local markets of Uttar Pradesh are flooded with Dussehri variety of mangoes. Traders are worried about the prospects of mangoes going waste.
In the wholesale market at Malihabad, UP’s mango belt, the price of dussehri fell to Rs 15-20 a kilogram. UP is India’s largest mango-producing states, accounting for over 20 per cent of the national output. Other prominent mango varieties produced in the state are Langra, Chausa and Amrapali, all of which are late-season crops.
Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri Alphonso and Gujarat’s Junagadh kesar are considered premium and pricy varieties but these western states are not even among the top-4 producers in the country.
Price is not the only loss to UP mango farmers and traders. They have also suffered on account of pest infestation, crop loss and lockdown this year, due to which the entire supply chain incurred heavy economic loss.
The crowd of traders is missing with very few local sellers turning up in the wholesale market. Traders fear prices may go down further if orders from Delhi-Mumbai or overseas start drying up. Due to the Covid crisis, the fruit markets in Delhi and Mumbai are not functioning normally and it is difficult for them to bear freight charges.
Due to the pandemic, barely 10 tonnes of Dussehri could be exported to Dubai this year, compared with 120 tonnes last year to UAE, Oman, Qatar and Europe. According to traders, the quality of Dussehri has been affected badly due to the bad weather, and this is causing problem in getting export orders. Besides, overseas buyers are also shying away due to the Covid crisis.