Gusty Winds, Rain Take Heavy Toll on Mango Crop in UP, Growers Say Output May Drop 65%
Image Courtesy: Deccan Herald
Lucknow: Unseasonal rainfall accompanied by strong winds lashed several parts of Uttar Pradesh in the past 24 hours, affecting mango crops in a big way, especially in Lucknow's mango belt, Malihabad, known for its Dussehri variety.
As it is, the price and quantum of exports of the 'king of fruits' this year have been affected by the lockdown, and now around 40% of the mango crop has been damaged in a single day.
Ehtesham, the largest mango grower of Malihabad town in Lucknow, is upset that due to lockdown he could not sell produce from even one of his orchards this season.
"I harvested five varieties of mangos in 40 acres in the Malihabad belt. Nearly 50% of my produce this year has been damaged because it rained till April, and also because the temperature remained low," he added.
Another mango grower, Abhishek Shukla, said: "Already, there was 35% less fruit this time. The thunderstorm along with heavy winds on Monday dealt another severe blow, as a huge amount of the fruit dropped to the ground in my orchard. Even the trees have got damaged."
According to All India Mango Growers' Association (AIMGA) President, Insram Ali, mango production is likely to see a 65% decline. While Malihabad mango growers said that this year production was estimated to be around 70 lakh tonnes, it may now reach only 25-30 lakh tonnes because of continued thunderstorms, dust storms, untimely showers this season, as also the lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The mango belts in Saharanpur, Bulandshahr, Barabanki, Hardoi, Hasanganj in Unnao, Pratapgarh, Amroha, Azamgarh besides Malihabad produce the best varieties of Dussheri, Chausa and Langra.
The recent spell of rain and thundershowers has also added to the woes of the already stressed of mango growers in Azamgarh, known as 'mini Malihabad', who are battling poor harvest and lack of market due to the ongoing lockdown. Seasonal fruits have been hit the hardest by showers and hail, some farmers said.
Vinod Yadav, a mango grower in Azamgarh, told NewsClick: "If climate supports us, then the remaining 25% mango crop can reach the market, otherwise most of the mangos are damaged."
Insram Ali said the government should purchase mango this year directly from farmers. "Due to strong, humid winds over the past one week, we will get very poor production of mangos this year," he said, adding that due to decline in production, the price of mangoes is likely to be high, taking it out of reach of the common man," he said.
"Our Malihabadi mango is always in demand in West Asia and European countries, but they have not placed any order so far. This is going to make a huge impact on mango growers," he added.
Imran Khan, a farmer leader from Bulandshahr's Khurja told NewsClick: “For the past few years, natural calamities and climatic changes have been wreaking havoc during the flowering stage in Bulandshahr, which accounts for lion’s share of mangoes in the state. This year, the business has been progressing on a dull note as a majority of the traders from North India are yet to arrive in the city."
This is the second time in a row earlier reported how unseasonal rains along with winds had damaged mango growers.
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