INDIA: Hot spell puts Alphonso mangoes at sunburn risk


The sudden rise in temperature over the last few days has exposed the much-loved Alphonso mangoes to the risk of sunburn and fruit dropping.

 

Mango growers said that the heat spell has come a little early this year, with day temperatures soaring above 35 degrees C in Ratnagiri.

 

 

Significant fruit dropping during the last few days is likely to affect the quantity and quality of mangoes coming to the market in March, with growers citing a 30% to 60% drop in supplies compared to the same period last year.

 

Commensurate with the rise in temperature, humidity has shot up too, which, along with the heat, has exposed harvestable mangoes to the risk of sunburn and fruit dropping.
Growers predict shortage of best quality mangoes

 

Growers had earlier thought that proper supply of Alphonso mangoes could only be expected after mid-March due to significant flower droppings from mango trees in the Konkan region in January this year. However, the ongoing spell of high temperature in the region has further affected mango production with growers expecting an additional drop in Alphonso supplies in March.

 

“As against 10-12 boxes of fruits coming from farmers during the same period last year, we are getting just four to five boxes currently. The shortfall in Alphonsos is likely to continue till March end as we are seeing considerable fruit dropping due to excess heat in these parts. Supplies may only normalise after April 10,” said Mandar Desai, who owns a 700-acre mango plantation in Ratnagiri.

 

Desai said that high temperatures and cool nights create a weather contrast, which results in fruit dropping from trees. “Hot afternoons also cause sunburn in mangoes, roasting them from inside. Such cases have been reported from areas ever since the temperature went up,” he said.

 

Growers said that best quality mangoes will be in short supply in March this year.

 

Nishant Sawant, a mango grower in Mirya Bunder, Ratnagiri, said, “Earlier this year, we saw considerable flower dropping from mango trees, which brought down current supplies. With the heat rising since the last few days, we are now witnessing excessive fruit drop. The combined effect of this is likely to bring down mango produce by 60% in March this year,” he said.

 

Vidyadhar Joshi, director of the Devgad Taluka Mango Growers Cooperative Society Ltd, said that sunburn occurs when mangoes exposed to sun rays develop a brown patch and become unusable. “This results in tissue damage in mangoes. The sudden increase in heat and humidity is resulting in damage to mangoes ready to be harvested. It takes a few days for trees to acclimate to the rise in temperature. This year, temperatures have risen earlier than usual,” he said.

 

Day temperatures in the coastal district have been around 5-6 degrees C above normal since the last few days.

 

Vivek Bhide, president of the Konkan Mango Growers’ and Sellers Association, said that supplies may worsen further if temperatures remain the same for another week.

 

Written by Neha Madaan, Times of India




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