Mixed crop outlook in the domestic production centres and erratically political climate in major markets in West Asia are troubling worrying the mango pulp units in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh ahead of the coming processing season.
Krishnagiri and Chittoor, the neighboring districts, in the two States together account for 8-10 lakh tonnes of mango pulp production during a good season accounting for the bulk of the domestic output.
This year is a different story; output could be down by more than half in Krishnagiri because of the fluid marketing situation in West Asia.
For the same reason Chittoor could also be affected and in addition the crop outlook is uncertain. Unseasonal rains earlier this year hit mango orchards during the flowering season say processors there. D Mathiazhagan, President, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri Fruit Processors Association, says in Tamil Nadu the season is expected to start by June with arrivals of Thothapuri variety of mangoes. Crop outlook is not a major concern after last year’s drought-hit low. The units in this hub are likely to process about 2-2.5 lakh tonnes of fruits to produce about 75,000-1 lakh tonnes of pulp. This will add to the carryover stocks of about 15,000 tonnes of pulp available from the last season. This is a rough estimate as processors do not give out such information, he said.
Primarily, their main markets in West Asia are strife-torn and sales have been impacted. Units will now have to look more to domestic fruit juice makers to sell their pulp. Last year export prices had started at about $750 a tonne and dropped to about $575.
Normally, the processors sell three-fourth of the mango pulp in export markets and the balance in domestic. But now they hope to sell at least half the output in the domestic market, he said.
They expect to produce up to 3 lakh tonnes of pulp this season though things will be clearer later this month as the processing units will start in June. In a good season the output can go up to 5 lakh tonnes. Fruit arrivals have been delayed this time around due to unseasonal rains.