Mango or Mangifera indica (derived from the Sanskrit word ‘manjiri’) is India’s national fruit. It is popular among the masses and is grown in almost every Indian state. Plus it is consumed raw, ripe and in the form of juices, pickles, jams, etc. Even mango wood is used as timber, and its leaves and dried twigs are often used for religious purposes. Today let’s dive deep into the mango agri value chain and follow the journey of the ‘King of fruits’ from the farm to your dinner table.
The top 5 mango-producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, and Gujarat. These five states contribute to more than 60% of the total mango production in India. There are 1,500 mango varieties grown in India of which 1,000 can be sold commercially.
Mangos are cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Therefore they can be grown successfully across India, but commercial farming is not possible in areas above 600 m. Well distributed rainfall in the range of 75-375 cm per annum, and dry weather before the blossoming period are ideal for optimum mango production. As a rule mangos don’t thrive in areas with extreme weather conditions like severe frost or high temperatures combined with low humidity and high winds.
Mangos are usually planted by small and marginal farmers (86.2% and 93.5% of mango farmers fall under the ‘small and marginal’ category) between July-August in areas that receive high rainfall and between February-March in irrigated areas. They reach a suitable height and develop a canopy at 5-6 years of age. Until then, farmers take up intercropping whereby leguminous crops, vegetables, cereals, and even spices like chillies are grown in mango orchards. Once a mango tree attains maturity, it is economically viable for more than 35 years.
Mango orchards start yielding fruits from the sixth year, though the yields vary depending on the mango varieties, climate, soil quality, agricultural inputs like fertilisers, pesticides, irrigation, etc. On an average, a mango orchard yields between 5 to 9 tons per acre. Even these production levels can be increased if farmers get proper information and pre-harvest inputs like fertilisers and pesticides.
Importance of Post-Harvest Contractor (PHC)
PHCs are usually the first stakeholder in the mango value chain. They enter into a contract with different farmers usually four months before harvest season. The farmers usually transfer their production and marketing risk to the PHCs and most farmers do not market their products directly. The PHC is involved in all stages – from transporting mangos to mandis to selling them to commission agents. However, the PHCs are not when it comes to selling to exporters since exporters directly purchase the mangoes from the farmers.
Harvesting and Grading
Mangos are harvested early in the season to capture an early market. They are harvested manually – by hand or by using poles. After harvesting, mangos are graded on their size, colour, and maturity. To ensure uniform ripening, the smaller fruits are separated from the larger ones. They are ripened by using Calcium Carbide, ethylene gas, or by dipping in ethrel solution. Mature fruits on the other hand are ripened with lower doses of ethrel.
Green mangos can be stored at room temperature for about 4-10 days. They are layered with rice straw and stored in ventilated storage rooms. If mangos have to be stored for longer periods, then they are usually cured (spread on the floor or in orchards on paddy straw to reduce their metabolic rate). Export quality mangos are usually sorted, cleaned with water, cured, and then stored in cold storage. There are rules for mango storage facilities in each state, and the type of storage (simple or cold storage), the storage period, and the method have been specified.
Traditionally mangos are usually packed in rectangular wooden boxes, bamboo boxes, or jute gunny bags. Nowadays, cardboard boxes, plastic crates, poly bags, flexible sacks made of plastic, and open mesh nets are available. Plastic crates pallet boxes and shipping containers are also used.
Mangos are usually transported to nearby mandis in trucks, bullock carts, auto-rickshaws, or mini trucks based on the distance from the orchards to the mandis. To avoid excessive heat in the day, most of these transits happen at night. When mangos have to be transported in bulk over long distances, rail transport is used. Indian Railways even offers air-conditioned containers to reduce spoilage. Apart from the railways, air and water transport are used to export mangos.
There are important markets per state. You can find a list of mandis and the top mango varieties sold in each of those mandis in our previous article. Mangos are mainly sold to wholesalers and commission agents in mandis. Mangos usually arrive in these markets from April/May and this lasts till August. Mangos are first sold to meet the local requirements, then sold to mandis in other states.
Processing plays an important role in the mango agri value chain. Mango puree/pulp is a smooth and thick product that is extracted from certain mango varieties in such a way that the insoluble fibrous parts of the ripe mangoes are broken up. It thereby retains all the fruit juice and a huge portion of the fibrous matter. Mango pulp or concentrate is used to make juices, jams, fruit cheese, and various other kinds of beverages. It is used extensively in the food industry. Processing mangos can create various shelf-stable products that last throughout the year. Apart from mango pulp, products like mango pickle, mango leather, dried mango powder, etc. can also be derived from processing mangos.
Isn’t it amazing to think that so many people were involved in bringing your favourite summer fruit to your table? We hope you found this article informative. Do share your views in the comment section below and stay tuned for more articles from Bijak. Bijak is India’s most trusted agri-trading app. It brings together agri traders like farmers, Buyers (commission agents), and Suppliers from across the country. It oversees daily trade in over 150 commodities (including mangos!). If you are an agri trader, you can download the Bijak app from Google Playstore and Apple App Store. You can also contact us at 8588998844 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agricultural Value Chains in India by Ashok Gulati, Kavery Ganguly, Harsh Wardhan
Report on Mango from nhb.gov.in
Mango Fruit Processing: Options for Small-Scale Processors in Developing Countries by Willis O. Owino and Jane L. Ambuko
Utilization Of Mango And Its By-Products By Different Processing Methods by Keshwani Deeksha and Sunita Mishra
Post Harvest Profile Of Mango by Ministry of Agriculture (Department Of Agriculture & Cooperation) Directorate Of Marketing & Inspection, Branch Head Office, Nagpur