Special Correspondent

Poor crop is pushing up prices in the markets

Bangalore: Mangoes are in the market this time, but in considerably smaller quantities compared to last year. The price for most varieties is correspondingly higher too.

Wholesale markets, which are usually heaped with the fruit by early April, are awaiting more stock.

Short supply

"The crops are reportedly much less in Kolar district and the situation is no better in other mango-growing areas including Belgaum, Dharwad, Tumkur, Haveri, Hassan and Chikmagalur. The short supply is pushing up prices," a trader said.

Retail prices are already showing signs of touching the highest in recent years with Alphonso mangoes being sold between Rs. 135 and Rs. 160 a kilo. Malgoa sells for Rs. 30 to Rs. 50 and Banganapalle for around Rs. 35 a kilo. Raspuri, which comes from gardens closer to Bangalore, is being sold between Rs. 40 and Rs. 60 a kilo. Badami costs between Rs. 45 and Rs. 50 and Sindura costs between Rs. 25 and Rs. 30 a kilo.

The least expensive is the more fibrous Totapuri, selling at Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 a kilo. "If more quantity arrives, the prices may fall marginally, but we don't see it happening," fruit-sellers said.

A newcomer since last year has been Aishwarya , developed by the University of Agricultural Sciences.

This is said to have been cloned from Alphonso to be more resistant to pests and diseases. This year has not been a happy one for mango growers. The flowering season earlier in the year saw unusual rainfall.

According to Horticulture Department sources, every good year is followed by a bad one, crop-wise. Last year, there were bumper crops almost everywhere. "Erratic rainfall resulted in irregular flowering, telling on the crop," they said.

Karnataka had an estimated mango crop of 12 tonnes last year. This is estimated to be between 3.5 and 4 tonnes this year.But almost all these regions have reported lesser crops than last year.