The price of Indian and Pakistani mangoes in Calgary could soar this year, say importers

·2 min read
There are hundreds of varieties of Indian and Pakistani mangoes, like these Kesar mangoes grown in Gujarat in western India. (Dan McGarvey/CBC - image credit)
There are hundreds of varieties of Indian and Pakistani mangoes, like these Kesar mangoes grown in Gujarat in western India. (Dan McGarvey/CBC - image credit)

It's the time of year when south Asians in Calgary start getting excited about a treat they say is as much about nostalgia and re-connecting with their homeland as it is the world-beating sweet taste: mangoes.

But the expensive treat could get even more pricey this year — as much as double what it's been in previous years.

A record-breaking heatwave in India has decimated the mango crop there, hitting the country just as mango trees were flowering, impacting the dozens of different varieties that Indians hold so dear.

India has experienced its hottest March in more than 120 years, leaving mango trees bare instead of packed with fruit.

In Pakistan, the mango crop this year is expected to be at least 50 per cent what it usually is thanks to similar soaring temperatures and water shortages. It's a disaster for the industry in the neighbouring countries.

"In Pakistan in the summer time it's almost like religion to eat mangoes," said mango aficionado Shahood Ahmed.

Dan McGarvey/CBC
Dan McGarvey/CBC

"Once you smell it, once you taste it, it takes you back to your childhood days. It gives you that feeling of back home and that's why they're so popular," said Ahmed.

"The smell and taste is connected to so many good memories and people from childhood. The sweetness, the honey-like taste you won't find in any other part of the world," he said.

Add Covid-related supply chain issues and increased air-freight costs to the impact of the heat wave and the treasured mangoes could be harder to find, and afford, this year.

"There is the heat waves but the most cost is the air freight and that's about three times what it was before the pandemic," said Sultan Makhani, who has been importing mangoes into Calgary for the past 13 years.

"Indian mangoes are about $50 a box now for a three-kilo box. That's the price, $45-$50," said Makhani.

But Makhani says he thinks there will still be lots of buyers, regardless of the cost.

"People still pay the price no matter what because it's only a few weeks a year when they have these mangoes available," he said.

Shahood Ahmed says mango season is about the memories they evoke rather than the price tag.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting