Alphonso Mangoes Fight Uphill Battle against Similar Looking Karnataka Cousin
Trademarkclick .com 28 May 2019

Alphonso Mangoes Fight Uphill Battle against Similar Looking Karnataka Cousin

The heat of the summers is almost at its peak, and with it, mangoes surge the marketplace. This season marks a happy season for all mango lovers, but more so for the farmers and horticulturists who produce mangoes and whose livelihood depend on its sale.

Alphonso, a distinct variety of mangoes, is a favourite of many across the whole country. It is known for its sweetness, richness, flavour and aroma and has often been called the king of mangoes, rightly so. Recently, in October 2018, the Alphonso mangoes cultivated in the coastal Konkan districts of Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri in Maharashtra received the Geographical Indication tag from the Geographical Indication Registry of India for their unique taste and aroma. Alphonso mangoes enjoy a high status in the market. A single crate of Alphonso containing around 60 mangoes sells for Rupees 1000-1200. These mangoes are cultivated extensively throughout these five districts in Maharashtra and occupy around 1.5 hectares of land. These are among the very few Indian farm products that enjoy a geographical indicators tag.

However, in a recent turn of events, Alphonso cultivators are facing a threat from the unethical acts of the market intermediaries who are trying to pass off a distant cousin variety of Alphonso cultivated in Karnataka, as the king of mangoes.

These mangoes from Karnataka look similar to Alphonso and have therefore flooded the wholesale and retail markets. These mangoes are increasingly being mislabeled as Alphonso and sold at a much higher price than what it should be. A crate of this cousin variety of Alphonso costs Rupees 300-400 on an average. However, they are being passed off as Alphonsos and are being sold at thrice the price. Also, traders mix one Alphonso mango, to capture the aroma, with four of its Karnataka cousins and sell them all as Alphonsos. This practice is eating into the margins of the local farmers. The Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board has asked all the market yards controlled by Agriculture Produce Market Committees across the State to keep mislabeling and mis-selling practices in check.

In the context of this uphill battle that Alphonso mangoes are fighting against its Karnataka cousins, Vivek Bhide, horticulturist and chief of the Konkan Hapus Amba Utpadak Ani Vikrate Sangh, said, “You can imagine the economic benefits to the large traders from such a mixing of mangoes. At the end of the day, the farmer suffers because he does not get the right price, and the consumer, because he is not getting what he has paid for.”

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