Horticulture Department Assistant Director Subbarayudu says the farmers are uprooting the old trees as the yield has come down
The mango trees that have survived vagaries of nature for nearly five decades are being axed in the district. The farmers in the region who are on the lookout for a lucrative alternative food crop and, if successful, mango orchards growing indigenous and exotic varieties of mangoes will dwindle in future if this trend continues.
Many growers are uprooting the mango trees that are 45 to 50 years old.
They are either looking for short period commercial crops or crop such as guava.
According to a rough estimate, the farmers have uprooted the trees in over 1,600 hectares in the district. Farmers in Nuzvid region, which is one of the popular areas for supply of high quality and tasty mangoes to national and international markets, are also sailing with the wind.
Horticulture Department Assistant Director B. S. Subbarayudu says that farmers cultivate mango in 96,000 hectares in 29 mandals of the district.
The farmers were uprooting the old trees as the yield has come down. The average yield is six tons per acre compared to State average of eight tons per acre.
The yield on these old trees is far less. The farmers were suggested to go for pruning or de-heading old trees for better yields.
But, they are more inclined to plant new saplings; they are planning to go for intercropping by cultivating vegetables, chillies etc.
It would take four years for a new sapling to bear the fruit, he says. Labourers like Rambabu say that they are paid Rs. 3,000 per ton to cut the trees and load them onto Lorries. N. Srinivasulu of Sobhanapalem says that the mango trees have become too old for a good yield. More so, the returns are not attractive compared to maize. Hence, the farmers are clearing the mango orchards, he adds.