Every year in the mango season, it is common to see a debate on chemical ripening, calcium carbide, FDA raids, and some traders saying it is not possible to ripen mangoes otherwise. Devgad Taluka Amba Utpadak Sahakari Sanstha Ltd is completely against any chemical ripening because and it ruins the quality of fruit and is hazardous to humans. We ripen all our Devgad Alphonso mangoes only naturally in grass hay and that is why we can vouch for its quality.
The issue of artificial ripening happens because of the way the market is structured. Mango that comes into the market first gets sold at a higher price. This brings a tendency to pull in mangoes as fast as possible, ripen them artificially and sell them off as soon as possible. So to ripen them fast, the market uses calcium carbide, that is not only a banned product; it is also hazardous to human beings as it causes cancer.
It is a point to note that calcium carbide does not ‘ripen’ mangoes. It is important for customers to understand that ripening is a biochemical reaction. When the fruit reaches maturity, it starts producing ethylene gas, along with slowly breaking down acids in the fruit, and converting starch into sugar. It is not humanly possible to accelerate this natural biochemical reaction in the fruit.
What calcium carbide does for mangoes is that it produces acetylene gas, which creates heat. Acetylene’s main application is in welding and as a fuel. When generated from calcium carbide, acetylene contains toxic impurities that affect the neurological system. When acetylene fills up the box of mangoes, it heats the fruit from outside. Mangoes start losing their green colour and turn yellow from outside.
This is the same reaction that happens when a coloured cloth is kept in the sun for some days and loses its colour.
Mangoes turn yellow but do not ripen. Some starch near the skin of mangoes is broken into sugar and then mangoes take a uniform yellow colour. For the customer, the mango looks yellow, he/she thinks it is ripe and buys it at whatever cost. However, the taste is not what the customer expecting for the price she paid. Such mangoes taste pathetic.
Because of the unique taste of Devgad Alphonso, almost all mangoes that look like Alphonso are sold in the market as Devgad. People have known the name of Devgad as producing Alphonso mangoes of top quality. But when they eat such artificially ripened mangoes that are sold to them as Devgad, and they taste pathetic, our name takes a beating.
Another point to note, none of our farmers use calcium carbide or for that matter any chemical to ripen mangoes.