KAKINADA: Mango farmers have been hit very badly by the Covid-19 second wave as it coincided with the mango season in April-May.
Exports have also drastically fallen and even consumption of mangoes has declined due to Covid-19 factors as doctors advised patients as well as the recovered not to go for mangoes in order to keep a check on diabetes. Many people are avoiding the fruit in view of greater lethality of Covid in case of those with co-morbidities.
There were expectations that yield from around 12,000 hectares in the district would touch about 1.3 lakh tones this year. But, due to unseasonal rains, heavy dew in the flowering stage till March saw the harvest fell to below one lakh.
The horticulture department which promotes mangoes in a bid way could not hold exhibitions to draw consumers this year. It had planned to export 100 tonnes of Suvarna Rekha variety of mangoes and buyers visited a few gardens in April. But, lockdown and lack of racks for shipment dashed the hopes, said horticulture deputy director S. Rammohan. Though sales took place for some varieties such as Kothapalli Kobbari (Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000 per tonne), Benganapalli (Rs 25,000), Suvarna Rekha (Rs 15,000) Totapuri (Rs 10,000) and others, the quantities were not encouraging. Lockdown and unseasonal rains caused great losses to the farmers, he noted.
Those who took mango gardens on lease are also not happy with yields as well as poor marketing. “We purchased the gardens at high prices. But, the Covid-19 has adversely affected the mango market. Traders are not giving reasonable prices to the produce. This year, even pickle variety of mangoes failed to fetch good prices,” said Pandu Venkateswara Rao of Rajanagaram. He purchased 35 acres of mango gardens and incurred great losses.
On the other hand, consumers say they are put off by the steep hike in fruit prices and are hesitant to buy the fruit as in the past.