Despite lockdown, king of fruits makes its first consignment to the Middle East

The Covid-19 outbreak has adversely affected all sectors of the economy, apart from human lives. However, on Friday, the first consignment of Alphonso mangoes has been exported from Maharashtra to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Onam, giving a ray of hope to the cultivators.

With the peak season currently ongoing, the lockdown has restricted transport of mangoes, hence, affecting its sale and export. However, farmers are now being provided help to restore the supply chain. The first consignment of four containers of Alphonso mangoes was sent to the UAE and Oman on April 3 and soon the exports will be extended to the European countries.

“Currently, the situation is not good for exports as we are facing several difficulties in logistics, but we managed to send three containers to the UAE and one container to Oman on April 3. We guided the farmers and exporters and accordingly their containers were sent, making it the first export of mangoes this season. In order to send these containers, they were facing legal difficulties and so, we helped them get all the necessary permissions, as we are only the facilitators,” said Bhaskar Patil, deputy general manager at Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (Konkan Division).

“Four containers with 105 metric tonnes of Alphonso mangoes from Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra have been exported. It will take six to seven days for the exports to reach their respective destinations. This is just the beginning of the mango export season and it has started with the Middle East countries. If we want to send to the European countries, then, we need to get all necessary permissions. Now that the trade has begun, we will get necessary permissions to transport the agricultural goods to foreign countries,” he added.

The situation is the same for grapes export, Kailas Bhosale, treasurer of the All India Grapes Export Association, said, “Currently, we are exporting grapes in the cold storage and not the new stock. Grapes are been exported to the Middle East and also European countries. But the exports have reduced as compared to the same period last year. This time last year, a total of 7,893 containers were exported with 1,05,600 metric tonnes of grapes, while this year, till now, 6,110 containers with 81,800 metric tonnes of grapes has been exported. Our farmers and traders are facing many difficulties with the major concern being drivers who take the containers to the shipping ports. At least 70 per cent of the drivers have gone back to their hometowns after the Covid-19 outbreak, which has slowed down the entire export system of grapes.”