Due to exorbitant air freight charges owing to the pandemic, mango exporters from UP have decided to send consignments of Dussehri, Langra and Saroli — popular mango varieties in the Gulf — via sea for the maiden time.
The first shipment of 26 tonnes of mangoes left for Gujarat port from Lucknow. It will leave Indian shores as it sets sail for Oman four days later. It will be a seven-day journey covering several hundred nautical miles for the “fruit of the kings”.
Nadeem Siddiqui, president of the Mango Export Association of UP, shared that the decision to export via sea stemmed from the fact that air freight has nearly tripled over the past few months. ]“Air freight charges have gone up from Rs 45-Rs 55 per kg to up to Rs 150 per kg since the pandemic disrupted air and cargo services. Comparatively, shipment by sea is now much cheaper at Rs 27 per kg,” he said.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture has provided technical support to ensure that the quality and aroma of the varieties are maintained.
Sources say that the UP government and the Centre are working to provide logistical aid to mango exporters so that fruit exports from UP can gain international dominance.
The next batch of mangoes are scheduled to leave for Dubai on June 21. “Last year, growers from Lucknow exported 200 tonnes to other countries while exports from Saharanpur amounted to 300 tonnes,” Siddiqui said.
According to Insram Ali, president of All India Mango Growers’ Association,UP accounts for 23.47% of the total production of mangoes in the country.
“UP produced 45-50 lakh metric tonnes of mangoes last year, but this year the yield is likely to be down to 35-40 lakh metric tonnes, resulting in losses of Rs 3,000 crore,” he said.
This year, in addition to the pandemic, the rains have also contributed in the spike in damaged produce, compelling farmers to write to the chief minister to seek relief.
Mangoes from UP are widely popular in UAE, Qatar, Oman, Japan, Malaysia and the UK. Farmers prefer to sell their produce to exporters since profit margins are quite decent.