Mumbai, Apr 16: King of fruits, the alphnso mango, is yet to find its way on the shopping-list of the middle-class consumers.
The alphnso is dearer by Rs 50-100 for a four dozen box in the Mumbai wholesale market in contrast to last year's prices, with the season's quoted price hovering between Rs 400and Rs 1,000 per four- dozen pack.
Attributing unseasonal rainfall in the state as the primary cause for this year's price escalation, market sources told UNI that the Ratnagiri Alphonso mangoes- the pedigreed species of the fruit, are presntly available only in the metro markets.
Prices, sources feel will fall once the Ratnagiri varities reach the wholesale markets of Valsad, Vapi, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, expectedly within the next few weeks.
With the alphonso out of their purchasing reach, middle-class buyers are shying away from the expensive mangoes and are instead buying other cheaper fruits like grapes seling at Rs 20 per kg, watermelon at Rs 20-25 a piece and mosambi going at Rs 30 per dozen.
Mango production is expected to be less this year at 5-7 lakh tonnes as compared to 10-12 lakh tonnes last year due to unseasonal showers in the growing areas of Maharashtra, Gujarat and other states.
Another reason ascribed to the fall in production this year is the declining land area available for mango growing. Sources informed UNI that many mango-growing areas were being converted to build factories and other establishments as a result of which proudction has fallen.
This apart, growers are prefering to grow other fast-groing cash crops like watermelon and grapes, which ripen faster than mangoes on the existing mango orchards.
Besides, green mango, used to make pickles too, are being quoted higher this year between Rs 200-300 per kg as against last year's Rs 100-150.
Mango exports, however, are being directed primarily to the markets of the UAE, US, UK, Dubai, other countries in the middle-east, Australia, Sri Lanka with the average price ranging between USD 10-15 per dozen by air fright and USD 8-10 by ship cargo, informed market sources.