Chennai: Farmers in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district believe it’s all in the brand. And they have picked Krishmaa as theirs.
As the country’s famous mango season gets under way, the farmers are planning to brand the mangoes they produce to earn a premium for the sugary variety they grow in the region.
A particular variety of mango, Thothapuri, used in pulp production, is grown mainly in this region.
Around 3,000 farmers in collaboration with the district administration will form a company, tentatively named as Krishmaa Mango Farmers Consortium, with each farmer contributing Rs1,000 as equity, to market the mangoes under the brand Krishmaa.
Special focus: Krishmaa mangoes are supposed to be the best in terms of sugar content for pulp manufacturers.
Although different varieties of mangoes such as Alfonso, Kesar and Banganpally are famous, this is the first time mango farmers from a particular district want to brand their produce based on the location in which they are grown.
“The branding will give us an advantage to better market the product. Our mangoes are among the best quality in terms of sugar content for pulp manufacturers,” said V.G. Siprarasu, a mango farmer who is spearheading the effort to start the Krishmaa association. His family owns 100 acres where mangoes have been grown for the last 80 years.
Under a World Trade Organization agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, a name or sign that signifies that a product corresponds to a particular region is protected. It is referred to as “Geographical Indication”.
Apart from branding and creating common infrastructure to market the product, the company will collaborate to create a model 50-acre mango orchard as well as a research facility in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University.
The district administration is planning to give around 100 acres for this in exchange for a small equity stake or to give the land on a long-term lease to the proposed company of mango farmers, said Santhosh Babu, the district collector of Krishnagiri.
“The farmers want to create an Amul-type of brand name for their produce, so that they can get better prices from buyers, who are mainly pulp manufacturers,” he added.
Amul, which is a brand owned by a Gujarat-based cooperative, sells packaged milk, yoghurt, processed cheese, ice-cream and other dairy products and is synonymous with a little girl mascot that became associated with the brand in 1967 and hasn’t changed for years.
The Amul brand is among the country’s top dairy brands and competes with the likes of Nestle SA’s Indian arm in the national market.
Babu said the farmers are planning to tie up with Safal National Exchange of India Ltd (SNX), which is 51% owned by the National Diary Development Board that owns brands such as Mother Dairy, Safal and Dhara.
SNX is a spot exchange and payment is guaranteed two days after the transaction is made, said Siprarasu. When contacted, senior officials at SNX refused to comment.
During the last year, according to Siprarasu, farmers from Krishnagiri mango farmers association sold 2,500 tonnes of the fruit to Safal.
This year, based on the feedback from buyers, Safal is sourcing 30,000 tonnes of mangoes from Krishnagiri and these would be sold under the brand name of Krishmaa, he added.
One acre under mango cultivation would yield an average of three tonnes of fruit under normal conditions of rain and other factors. Last year, Thothapuri mangoes from Krishnagiri fetched between Rs5 and Rs6 per kg.