Tamil Nadu's mango arrivals drop by 50 per cent

Heat wave scorches mango farmers' hopes.

Krishnagiri: The production of luscious mango fruits in Tamil Nadu’s mango hub of Krishnagiri has dropped by 50 per cent this summer as the heat wave has scorched the mango crops.

The harvesting of mangoes is likely to drastically dip from 15 lakh tonnes last year to a meagre seven lakh tonnes this summer, fear farmers. In Krishnagiri, mangoes, largely the Tottapuri or the Bengalura variety, is cultivated on four lakh acres of orchards. While three lakh acres of mango farms come under the rain-fed cultivation, another one lakh is grown with irrigated water.

When the mango trees started flowering in January and February, the farmers were hopeful of a bumper crop. But the heat wave and complete lack of rains in the last two months have led to immature falling of small mangoes.

“The yield this year will decline to 50 per cent compared to the previous seasons because the small mangoes have fallen due to excessive heat and lack of rains,” a 50-year-old mango farmer P.Manikandan of Santhur, near Krishnagiri, told the Deccan Chronicle.

Says another mango farmer in Shoolagiri, 45-year-old R.Krishnappa, “Though the crop is drought tolerant it needs moisture in the soil to stop small mangoes
from dropping. This can be avoided if the flowering starts at the right season without delay” The flowering normally starts in the middle of December. But the farmers witnessed a delay in the flowering by two months as the trees bloomed only in the middle of February.

Export order dips:
However, the mango production in the irrigated farms has not been affected. But the farmers are upset because they will not get a reasonable price for their produce as 70 per cent of the mango pulping units are not functioning because of nil export order.

“The prices when compared to the previous year will decline as most of the pulping units are not interested in resuming production,” says 45-year-old T.Ramanji of Ramandoodi in Shoolagiri taluk.

According to the mango pulping unit owner, K.Pugalenthi, “Only 30 units will resume production among 100 units in Krishnagiri.”

“Most of the units have been closed due to restrictions imposed by the buyers including the Middle East countries. The exporters are ready to buy only if the commodity is packed in the ACEPTIC containers,” says Pugalenthi, who runs a mango pulping unit near Payyur in Kaveripattinam.

But each unit needs to invest around Rs.10 crore for introducing ACEPTIC packing technology. “But we lack support from the bankers who are not ready give loans for the industry be cause the ban ks are una ble to collect the du es from the existing custom ers,” adds the pulping unit owner.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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