Mango production in the current year has come down drastically due to gales and pests attacks. (PTI)
KHAMMAM: Summer is around and it is time to relish the yellow, pulpy and yummy mangoes of all sorts but the mouth-watering fruit seems to be playing hide-and-seek. The king of all fruits, the most sought after one during summer, is fast turning a rare commodity in the market. According to an estimate, mango production witnessed 70 per cent decline this year and farmers are said to be seriously considering alternative horticulture crops.
Mango production in the current year has come down drastically due to gales and pests attacks. Blossoming started in February instead of January. Though mango growers initially felt happy as flowering was high, unfortunately, blooming did not sustain due to the attack of pink worms, which was witnessed in chilli crops. Later, bed bugs attacked unripe fruits and it caused major damage to the production. Nearly 70 per cent of the flowering was dropped with it and the farmers were a worried lot. The yield of mango per acre in the general situation is 4,000 tonnes and it is now only 1,000 tonnes per acre.
Mandals like Sattupalli, Aswaraopet, Dammapet, Yellandu, Mulakalapalli, Madhira, Errupalem, Enkoor, Tallada, Penuballi, Konigerla and Vemsoor mandals in Khammam and Bhadradri-Kothagudem districts used to export good quality of mangoes abroad and other states. The situation has changed now and farmers are expected to face heavy losses this year.
Mango is being raised in 34,000 acres in Khammam district and 11,000 acres in Bhadradri-Kothagudem districts. The average mango production is 1.36 lakh tonnes in Khammam and 44,000 tonnes in Bhadradri district. But, the farmers got the yield of only 12,000 tonnes and 3,000 tonnes so far in Khammam and Bhadradri districts respectively.
K. Srinivasa Rao, a mango grower in Penuballi said, "We are facing the worst situation this year pertaining to mango production. There is no chance of recovering the losses this year. I am planning to go for palm oil by felling mango trees in my six acres. A palm oil farmer is getting Rs 1 lakh rupees as lease per acre."
It may be recalled that farmers in five mandals including Aswaraopet, Dammapet, Sattupalli and Penuballi felled their mango trees in the extent of 20,000 acres 15 years ago and raised palms and coconut trees. These farmers are now getting Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh as lease amount at present due to the increasing demand for edible oil after the war broke out between Russia and Ukraine. Interestingly, there is no chance of getting palm seedlings due to less production.
N. Ramu, another farmer from Manchukonda in Raghunadhapalem mandal, said he had decided to go for guava crop this year by felling mango trees in his three acres.