top of page

Cyclone's Legacy: Shifting Mango Seasons in Konkan Maharashtra

Updated: Apr 18



Dapoli, Maharashtra – On April 5th, Monks Bouffe visited a mango orchard in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. It's a land in transition, still bearing the invisible scars of cyclone Nisarg, which passed through the region in June, 2020 (about 4 years ago). The natural mango & cashew farmer, Piyush revealed the cyclone's ongoing impact on the delicate alphonso mango ecosystem. 


Piyush at his Alphonso Mango orchard in Dapoli
Natural farmer Piyush taking us on a tour of his Alphonso Mangoes orchard in Dapoli

Reduced Yields

Alphonso mango yields at this naturally managed farm have dropped to a mere 30-35% of pre-cyclone levels.  The flowering this year indicated a bumper crop, as it was even more than earlier he says, but most of them wither and drop, resulting in only a fraction of the typical harvest. 


Commercial Alphonso Mango Farmers Adapt…With Excess Chemicals

Commercial Alphonso mango farms in the region, typically reliant on chemical fertilisers and pesticides, have also seen yields decrease by a staggering 50%. To compensate, farmers are resorting to even heavier spraying regimens (at least 6 to 7 rounds), which include a potentially harmful chemicals used on "cultivars."


Road Development Compounds the Problem

The Mumbai Goa Highway project, along with local road widening, has led to widespread deforestation, disrupting the delicate forest ecosystem around the mango orchards.  The loss of habitat has driven monkeys towards the orchards, further depleting the already diminished yield. This specific farmer Piyush who we visited practices a philosophy of ahimsa (non-violence) and therefore does not harm the monkeys. He says, we are encroaching their territory and if they have a few mangoes, we ideally should not be stopping them. But most farmers around, resort to shooting the monkeys.


Mango ripening delayed at the orchard
Ripening of the mangoes getting delayed at one of the orchards in Konkan region of Maharashtra

Delayed Season, Depressed Prices

Perhaps the most significant change for alphonso mango farmers is a drastic shift in the fruiting season. "We used to see at least 15-20 dozen mangoes ready for local consumption by March, maybe early April," Piyush mentions.  "These years post cyclone Nisarg, there isn’t a single ripe mango on the trees before 15th April."


This delay of over a month has serious repercussions.  Early-season mangoes command the highest prices. As the market floods in mid-April and May, those prices drop considerably, preventing the natural mango growers from getting fair prices. This also leads to the farmers growing mangoes chemically to start spraying excess chemicals like the cultivar to offset this issue of late fruiting & make the most of the high prices in February & March.


A Call for Awareness

The mango crisis in the Konkan is a complex story of environmental change, economic pressure, and competing philosophies.  For consumers, it's a stark reminder that the mangoes in the market are the product of a system under stress. Support for farmers and understanding of what challenges they are going through to remain steadfast even in difficult times, is more important than ever


512 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page