An engineer with a successful professional life, my very dear friend—Prashant Narvarkar—whom I met at SPJIMR while pursuing Project Management Program, now has an interesting concept called Kokani Hapus – Royal Fruit for Royal Taste!
Here are some excerpts from our conversation on Kokani Hapus, the very famous Alphonso Mangoes from the Kokan Belt of Maharashtra, India.
ASMA: Prashant, why a business in Mangoes? What made you think about this interesting concept?
PRASHANT: It’s not just mangoes; it was the feeling of doing something apart from the monotonous 9 to 5 job. Something that will give me satisfaction of doing something and concept of any business gives me sense of attraction.
Mangoes…because I know this fruit since my childhood. There are so many childhood memories and I know about mango plantation in detail, so there was no doubt on the quality. I knew it’s going to stand out in market where sellers sell any mango in the name of Hapus. I was confident that people going to love mango from my native place.
ASMA: What is the story behind introducing Kokani Hapus?
PRASHANT: Well, how I began Kokani Hapus…my distant uncle is in this business since last 15 years or so. However, the scale of the business there is larger with a list of privilege customers. I have seen closely how he cultivates and takes care of the mango trees throughout the year. He has taken efforts in growing mangoes in a natural way as he has academic knowledge on agriculture and regularly visits agricultural college in Dapoli to stay up to date on the latest information on the management of mango plantation. He was my advisor and mentor in this business as well as supplier of mangoes.
This is the second season for Kokani Hapus. Besides, my uncle, my dear wife has been a great help in supporting me and yes, I do share the remuneration gained with her.
As of now, I am not a big organization with mission and vision. However, I had a small target of 1 lakh rupees this year, which I have successful achieved.
ASMA: Where are these plantations located and how are they managed?
PRASHANT: The mango plantation flourishes not very far from Kokan Sea Shore, i.e., at round distance of 1 to 2 km from sea inside the villages of Maharashtra, India. Prominent locations where Kokani Hapus grows are Harne, Hadkhal, Palande and Karde. These villages are few kilometres away from Dapoli District, which is well known for its Agriculture College.
Kokani Hapus grows in red soil of Kokan that is rich Iron, so the fruit gets iron naturally from Kokan soil. Red soil is the type of soil that develops in a warm, temperate, moist climate under deciduous or mixed forests and which has thin organic and organic-mineral layers .All these parameters help mango to be rich in nutrition value.
Kokani Hapus is fed with decomposed Cow Dung. The cow dung used is decomposed over 2.5 years to make it rich in nutrition value before utilizing it as a fertilizer in our plantation. The soil is also fed with Cow Urine (Gau Mutra) because it acts as a disinfectant.
Furthermore, to make mangoes nutritious, Kokani Hapus plantation is fed with calcium and phosphorus in small amounts as they are essential micro nutrients. This process is done manually.
The plantation is protected from fruit bees in a very innovative way. Small pieces of cakes are hung to the tree, which have the scent of female bee; male bees get attracted to this scent to this piece of cake and get stuck to it. These are later removed, thus, tree is kept safe from bee attack.
Some anti fungal and small amount of sulphur containing disinfectant is sprayed on the trees in very early days. All the spraying of natural fertilizers and disinfectants is done in the monsoon season. These are fed through spraying and by mixing in the soil.
The area near trees is cleaned and dried. This creates certain strain on the roots, which catalyzes the growth of the mango.
The growth of the fruit is judged by its roundness of shape—a little oval in shape indicates mango is ready to ripen on its own. We never use any external factor to ripe the mango faster or in any unnatural way.
Mango that are have stains due to bee attack or because of friction caused by the branches, are separated from good ones.
Finally, mango is weighed and categorized depending on its shape. We ensure export quality mangoes to all our customers.
And yes, after all the hard work, Kokani Hapus is ready for its lovers to relish!
ASMA: Prashant, how does one get to relish Kokani Hapus?
PRASHANT: By connecting with me at +91 9870385821.
Or by liking Kokani Hapus Facebook Page; link as below.
So, friends who have tasted the royal fruit with royal taste will know what Prashant is talking about. This year, I did get the royal taste and I was a very happy and satisfied customer. For those, who are in love with Alphonso mangoes now know the way to get Royal!
Thank you Prashant for your time! And here are some pictures of Prashant and his wife (whom he fondly calls as WiFi 🙂 ) at work while promoting and distributing Kokani Hapus in and around Mumbai…