Agri Business

Covid crushes mango processing units in Konkan region

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on October 16, 2020 Published on October 16, 2020

Mango pulp being processed (file photo)   -  THE HINDU

Processed mango products for up to ₹80 crore have remained unsold

A prolonged lockdown and lack of market demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic have created major problems for mango processors in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. Processed mango products for up to ₹80 crore have remained unsold due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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Konkan is home to the world-famous Alphonso mango, which is sought after even in places such as Japan. This year, the pandemic in March also coincided with the mango season. Although mango got sold as a table fruit, its processing for juices, pulp, ice cream and squash was cut down by the local companies. But still, a lot of inventory has remained unsold.

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Vivek Bhide, President of Konkan Mango Growers' & Sellers’ Association, said that due to the lockdown there are no takers for juices and ice creams. Doctors also forbade people from drinking cold and chilled beverages. The local processors decided to scale down operations as Covid created business uncertainty,

Labour movement affected

The labour force, for working in the processing units, comes from places such as Nagpur but due to inter-State and district-level travel restrictions, labour was not available. And today, due to a prolonged monsoon, the demand for cold beverages has also reduced significantly, Bhide said.

Alphonso mango pulp, given its unique flavour, is blended with mango pulp from other States to make juice and juice concentrates. About 3.30 lakh tonnes of Alphonso mangoes are produced every year in the region and almost 1.20 lakh people are associated with the trade.

Amar Desai, CEO of Desai Products, said that in places where the local labour force was available, processing companies were hesitant to start operations, as even if one worker was found Covid-positive the whole unit would be shut for 15 days, locking up capital and revenue. Since February, mango products have not been in demand but a few green shoots are visible in October.

Desai Products is based out Ratnagiri district, which is the very heart of mango production and processing.

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Published on October 16, 2020
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