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Courtesy unseasonal rains, cost of mango varieties touching sky: Assocham Study
Mango, the king of Indian fruits, is acting very pricey this summer with even the lower end of the varieties selling at Rs 100 a kg in the retail market while the premium variety Alphonso is costing Rs 500- Rs 600 per dozen in Mumbai, courtesy unseasonal rains which resulted in production loss up to 50 per cent in some states.

Prices have shot up by 50-65 per cent, at a much higher pace than other fruits and vegetables, reveals a recent study by industry body Assocham.

According to the comprehensive study done by the Assocham Agri Research Wing on "Mango – Anxiety on Production and Export Front" reveals that both farmers and the consumers are at the receiving end of the havoc caused by the rains with maximum of the damage reported in Uttar Pradesh which produces largest variety of mangoes in over a dozen belts like Malihabad, Shahabad, Amroha, Bulandshahr, Hardoi, Unnao, Barabanki and Saharanpur.

According to a press release issued by Assocham, the trend of rising mango prices is already visible, the study projects retail price tag shooting up by 50 – 65 per cent this season, depending on the variety of the fruit, adds the study.

While the loss is being assessed still as the harvest continues, preliminary estimates point towards a minimum loss of 20 per cent on production. In pockets of Uttar Pradesh the loss is estimated at over 50 per cent. With production of four million tonnes, Uttar Pradesh contributes about one-fourth the country's production which is likely to falling to 15 million tonnes this season. With regard Maharashtra and other central Indian states the situation is equally bad.

"The various state governments have announced relief measures and financial compensation, they are not sufficient to mitigate farmers' losses and also curb rising prices. More needs to be done to help farmers," said D S Rawat Secretary General Assocham, in a statement.

As per the study, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh together account for about half of the total mangoes being produced in India with both the states accounting for almost similar share of over 24 per cent. Karnataka (10 per cent), Bihar (7.6 per cent) and Gujarat are amid top five states with high share in mangoes' production across India.

Rawat said the Assocham has always been raising issues of concern and interest to the farmers as they form backbone of our economy.

The current year's mango crop suffered the onslaught of repeated rains accompanied by hailstorm and strong winds from end January till early April, 2015 in North and Central India, resulting in huge loss.

Exports too have been affected, though India's share of mango exports even in good times has been negligible. Considering the production volume and variety of Indian mangoes, country's exports at 41,280 tonnes is insignificant, whereas Pakistan which produces just around 1 million tonnes of mango exports 40,000 tonnes (i.e. 4% of its production). Thus India's share in global market is minuscule.

The UAE is the top most export destination for India's mangoes accounting for over 61 per cent share followed by the UK (12 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (five per cent). Qatar, Kuwait and Bangladesh are other leading export destinations for Indian mangoes.

Qatar is leading with about 110 per cent CAGR in mango imports from India followed by the USA (88 per cent), Oman (84 per cent), Nepal (70 per cent) and Kuwait (46 per cent) amid top five destinations recording high growth in mangoes exported from India.

India has the huge potential in mango exports but unable to exploit the opportunities. In the current year, lower production prospects are likely to impact mango exports from India badly, said Rawat.

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