Climate change threatening Mango production in Chittoor district

Deccan Chronicle.  | AVINASH P. SUBRAMANYAM

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Late flowering and the resultant delay in harvest have affected the flowering cycle of mango seeds

According to horticulture experts, mango trees are expected to start flowering from Jan 15 and the process would last until Feb 15. (Photo: PTI)

TIRUPATI: Late flowering and the resultant delay in harvest, due to climate change and unseasonal rains in Chittoor district last year, have affected the flowering cycle of mango seeds. This is likely to impact mango production here in the coming months.

Farmers in the district say that, as a result, the yield this year will be less compared to the usual output of 7-7.5 lakh tonnes. “This season, we have cultivated various types of mangoes in around 1.12 lakh hectares,” they said.

According to horticulture experts, mango trees are expected to start flowering from Jan 15 and the process would last until Feb 15. By March, the trees start bearing fruits. By April and May, the mango season will be in full swing. However, climate change and excess rainfall would impact the flowering; and the production season might overlap with the rainy season.

There are close to 50-60 pulp industries in Chittoor district. They buy huge quantities of the Totapuri variety. Hence, a lot of farmers cultivate this variety. A likely drop in the yield of this variety is likely this season due to unseasonal rains, rise in dew and other factors. This might delay the production of mangoes and affect the price per tonne of mango.

Deputy horticulture director B Srinivasulu said flowering was delayed this season due to heavy rains in the winter and other unfavourable climatic conditions. This has adversely impacted fruit-bearing. “As of now, we have seen flowering in only 40-50 per cent of mango trees in the region, and that too male flowers. This would affect the yield,” he said.

Meanwhile, the horticulture department has been holding training programmes for farmers in pre-harvest operations, in a bid to help them reach market demands, standardization of fruit production and grading of fruit to ensure better price.

“As of now, hundreds of mango growers from around 16 clusters were imparted training -- from fruit-formation to harvesting stages, and how to get remunerative price for their produce. The training includes watering of trees for proper growth of the fruits, harvest technique, changes in the style of harvesting to prevent cuts and bruises on fruits, and making sure that the damage is to the minimum”, the official said.

- Farmers noticed inconsistencies in the mango flower initiation process with late arrival of flowers which could delay the harvest.

- While the Totapuri variety of mango is being cultivated in 70,000 hectares, other varieties are being cultivated in 42,000 hectares.

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