In the coming mango season, discerning consumers will get their choice of the premium, authentic GI-tagged Alphonso mangoes delivered to them, thanks to the collaboration between Innoterra and Alphonso-growing farmer collectives in the Konkan region.
Innoterra, an Indo-Swiss food and technology platform company, signed separate memoranda of understanding (MoU) with Devgad Taluka Amba Utpadak Sahakari Sanstha and Pawas Parisar Amba Utpadak Sangh to create a farmer-owned company. The initiative is aimed at delivering maximum value of the GI-tagged fruits to the farmers, while also raising consumer awareness about authentic Konkan Alphonso mango. The farmers will also get access to Innoterra’s 360-degree services platform that enables high-density plantations, farming protocols, re-plantations of orchards, input provision, financial inclusion, and farmer training. The initiative will utilise the pack-houses and other infrastructure of Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB) and secure technical support from Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dapoli.
Innoterra has already successfully pioneered traceability in the alphonso mango through its collaboration with Konkan Alphonso Mango Producers and Sellers Cooperative Association, spearheaded by Dr. Vivek Bhide, a prominent farmer champion of the GI initiative for Alphonso. Through this collaboration, Innoterra plans to bring around 3,000 MT of fully traceable premium quality Alphonso mangoes to consumers in domestic and international markets. The farmer cooperatives and the company plan to co-invest US$ 1 million at the initial phase of this collaboration.
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Elaborating the development, Mukesh Khandelwal, Chief Innovation Officer at Innoterra said, “This collaboration signals our intent to establish a single farmer-owned company with a worldwide-recognised brand for Alphonso from the Konkan region as a super fruit in premium markets. Farming services and post-harvest interventions will address significant concerns in this sector, such as Alphonso’s quality and marketability. This collaboration also underlines our deep commitment of working towards raising farmer incomes and adding value across the supply chain. Our mid-term aim is to double the net income of farmers participating in our programmes.”
Speaking on the initiative, Sunil Pawar, MD, Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board said, “While Konkan Alphonso has the GI tag, other similar-looking mangoes sourced from other regions may be sold as Alphonso. This not only dilutes Alphonso’s brand name but also eats into the margins of Konkan farmers. A farmer-owned marketing company will have the ability to strengthen the global brand of Alphonso and shift farmers from being price takers towards becoming price setters.”
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Ajit Gogate, Chairperson, Devgad Cooperative said, “Small farmers do not receive adequate value for their Alphonso crop. They depend on commission agents to sell their products and do not have enough resources for proper branding and marketing. Devgad Cooperative has joined hands with Alphonso farmers in other parts of Konkan and Innoterra to set up this farmer-owned marketing and distribution company. This company will strengthen the bargaining power of farmers in the Konkan region, provide them access to traceability, marketing, and branding services, and enforce the Konkan farmers’ GI protected right to exclusive use of the word ‘Alphonso’.”
Pradeep Sawant, Chairperson, Pawas Cooperative said, “The Pawas Cooperative fully supports this initiative to set up a farmer-owned company. Through this initiative, farmers will be able to better develop premium domestic and export markets for the fruit. Consumers around the world will be able to experience the true flavours and quality of genuine Alphonso, and the country will realise the massive potential of the world’s most delicious fruit.”