Pune: Kesar Mangoes Hit Pune Markets Early, Challenging Hapus Dominance

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Pune, 1st April 2024: An early surprise awaits mango enthusiasts this season as Kesar mangoes have made an unexpected entry into the market, disrupting the traditional mango season timeline. Typically anticipated towards the end of April or early May, Kesar mangoes have emerged in March this year, promising abundant availability from the first week of April onwards.

Sanjay Pansare, a prominent fruit trader at the Vashi Agricultural Produce Market Committee, disclosed that Kesar mangoes sourced from regions like Sangola, Dharashiv, Marathwada, and Khandesh have already graced the markets of Mumbai and Pune. With prices ranging between Rs 150 to 170 per kilogram, Kesar mangoes began appearing in retail quantities towards the end of March, marking a significant deviation from the usual seasonal pattern.

This year witnessed a unique phenomenon as saffron mangoes underwent four to five stages of blooming. A single tree exhibited a diverse array of mangoes, ranging from fully harvested ripe mangoes to raw mangoes (kairi) and lemon-shaped varieties. The mango harvesting process commenced from the first phase on March 15th.

Mahakeshar Mango Bagayatdar Sangh president, Dr Bhagwanrao Kapse, indicated that Kesar mangoes are expected to grace the market until the end of June.

Despite the extensive cultivation of Kesar mangoes across approximately 53,000 hectares in the state, excluding Konkan, only a fraction of this area boasts fruit-bearing trees, estimated at around fifteen thousand hectares. The remaining orchards either serve as recipients of subsidies or have suffered from neglect, leading to reduced production levels this year.

Traditionally, Hapus mangoes dominate the market from the onset of March until late April. However, the early arrival of Kesar mangoes in April poses a new challenge to Hapus’ reign. Consumers now have the option to choose between the two varieties, with Kesar mangoes priced at Rs 150 to 170 per kilogram, while Hapus fetches between Rs 800 to 1500 per dozen.

Despite the excitement surrounding the early availability of mangoes, concerns loom over potential challenges such as natural calamities including summer heat, storms, unseasonal rains, and hailstorms, which could significantly impact the final yield. Dr Kapse stressed the uncertainty surrounding the extent of mango availability amidst such unpredictable weather conditions.