INDIA: Wet spells wipe out most mango orchards

by Vijaysinh Parmar & Himansshu Bhatt, Times of India


It seems mango lovers would have to be satisfied with water melons this summer.


Five spells of unseasonal rains since February have caused massive damage to the succulent kesar as well as Valsadi hafoos (alphonso); the latest wet bout being the most destructive.


On Tuesday, TOI talked to large number of farmers in Amreli and Junagadh, the maximum kesar producing districts as well as hafoos orchard owners in Navsari, who described how their orchards have been destroyed.


Agriculture experts seconded their concerns. An average 70% of the kesar and hafoos has been damaged, according to experts and farmers.


In Dhari region of Amreli, tonnes of mango fruits withered away due to gale and rain were lying scattered in many orchards. “No one is ready to buy these fruits for even Rs 5 per kg. The stormy weather has resulted in many trees, some over 20 years old, falling,” said Tinu Laliya, an orchard owner in Jar village near Dhari.


For the first time ever, mango growers are planning to seek relief package from the government.


“Over 70% of the crop has been destroyed this year. Apart from fallen fruits, the quality of the remaining fruits would be badly affected and there would few buyers,” said Vaju Dobariya, orchard owner and member of Talala Agricultural Produce Market Committee.


“While branches of old trees fell, the newly planted trees were uprooted in majority of the orchards,” said Ashraf Kamyani from Mitiyala village.


N I Shah, in-charge of Pariya farm of Navsari Agriculture University, told TOI, “Inclement weather has ruined majority of the mango crop in the region. In March-end, it was extra heat that led to dropping of small fruits and now rains and humidity has led to lack of pollination and flowering that happens in later stages. This also resulted in fruits not setting on the branches. Moreover, it has increased the threat of insect and pests on the trees.” Jigar Nayak, a farmer in Gandeva village of Navsari said, “We have only 40 per cent of the fruits on our 1,500 trees.”


Source: Times of India

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