MYSURU: A Karnataka-based research scholar has revealed that the state has endless opportunities for promoting, processing and export of mangoes.
KT Sandeep, a research scholar in agribusiness management from the University of Mysore, has published a study that reveals that with the help of Karnataka government policies, the value chain of mangoes can be further improved. His study goes on to suggest improvement of food processing units, educating farmers on the utilisation of modern technology and removal of middlemen.
Self Help groups and NGOs in the state must promote mango processed products like pickles to strengthen the value chain. Sandeep further states that policy suggestions, training to mango growers at the time of harvesting, encouraging investments in the value chain processors to reduce post-harvest loss and provide advance credit or loan facilities should be the norm.
Mango growers in the state are faced with losses thanks to the erratic climatic conditions, high cost of cultivation, lack of support in providing the minimum support prices and remunerative prices for farmers.
The absence of mechanised grading systems has left the farmers with manual methods. They also face constraints when it comes to the availability of packaging material and unscientific pre and post-harvest management, limited processing units close to mango growing areas, lower production of a suitable variety of processing mangoes, lack of quality and suitable variety, lack of transportation and storage facilites, among other issues.
"Increasing the finances for horticultural production, improving efficiency and repayment of loans, strengthening linkages among participants in value chains are the need of the hour," says Sandeep. The state government should be helping with market intelligence to the farmers which, in turn, will strengthen the value chain of mangoes. Sandeep's study is limited to Karnataka and four commodities (mango, tomato, chillies and coffee).
The minimum support price of mango fruits, during the productive years, should be declared by the government under the market intervention scheme. The government and cooperatives need to develop the processing units in the mango growing areas. This will help processors purchase raw material at a reasonable price.
Ninety per cent of the consumers purchase both fresh as well as processed mango products from local retail shops. Since there is a scope for value addition and demand for value-added products of mango, the government and other agencies must take up initiatives for strengthening this value chain by establishing processing units in the production belts as well as provide the required institutional arrangements for domestic and export promotion of value-added products of mango, the study suggested.
The mango value chain analysis is a market-oriented approach. It is therefore important to understand that all stakeholders along a particular value chain co-operate and co-ordinate their activities to fulfil the needs of the end consumer. It is true that not one individual enterprise competes with each other but the entire value chain. This chain analysis also leads to a detailed strategic cost analysis. The degree of value addition is more during pulp extraction and processing of mango into juice. Out of the different attributes of value-added product of mango, that is mango juice, consumers preferred price as the most important attribute followed by quality, brand and taste, elaborates Sandeep.
“In the past decade, the change in the cropping pattern is more towards the horticulture sector and commercial crops. Horticultural crops form a significant part of total agricultural produce in the country and have become key drivers of economic development in many of the states in the country,” Sandeep explains
Though with the effort of the Ministry of Food Processing Industry, the growth of this sector is accelerated, there is still a need to discuss and sort out various related issues among people of various categories to increase the level of value addition and improve the quality of value-added food products for the domestic market as well as export.