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Chris Komorek

BY CHRIS KOMOREK

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Covid-19 interrupts India’s mango season

Country-wide shut down and social distancing measures limit domestic supply and exports, significantly reducing prices

Covid-19 interrupts India’s mango season

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India, the world’s leading mango producer, is struggling with the impact caused by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, with supply to domestic and export markets reduced, and prices a third of what they usually are.

According to the Financial Times, mango farmers and distributors have faced difficulties this season following India’s decision to enter lockdown in late March to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Social distancing measures caused a labour shortage that was felt right across the country’s supply chain.

According to the report, harvest slowed and transport was limited due to a lack of workforce, with a number of wholesalers and retailers purchasing less fruit than previous years.

Saud Rais Ali, a mango farmer in the Northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, told the Financial Times the current problems growers are facing would impact future prospects, including family weddings and any potential investments in the industry.

Insram Ali, president of the All India Mango Growers Association, echoed this sentiment, adding the Alphonso mangoes — a premium variety known as the king of mangoes — grown in the Western state of Maharashtra, were selling for as little as Rs500 (US$6.60) a dozen, about a third of their usual price.

Ali said the situation was grim, highlighting that in some parts of the country, farmers were already reeling after their mango crops were hit by unseasonal weather.

Exports have not gone unscathed either, according to Kaushal Khakhar, chief executive of leading exporter, Kay Bee.

Khakhar said its air freight costs had risen 300 per cent, pushing Kay Bee to launch an online mango delivery service to target domestic customers in social isolation.

He said he had received appeals from Indian buyers anxious to secure their fill of the fruit.

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