The crash in the price of mango has put growers in distress in Kolar district, the mango barn of Karnataka.
Besides, rain has wreaked havoc on the crop.
The farmers have suffered a loss due to unseasonal rain and hailstorms a couple of months ago, followed by diseases that hit the crop. Also, they have had to endure a loss as tender mangoes have dropped from trees. About 25 per cent of the crop has been lost in this manner in the district where mango is cultivated on 45,000 acres of land.
Srinivaspur taluk in the district has the distinction of growing mango on a single stretch of 22,325 hectares, which is the largest in Asia.
The farmers who took up mango cultivation after availing themselves of loans from banks and private moneylenders are finding it difficult to repay loans due to adverse climate and the fall in price, according to G. Somashekhar, a farmer from Srinivaspur.
While the Thotapuri variety fetches Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 2,500 a tonne, the Rajgir variety is being sold at Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 3,000 a tonne. Local varieties get the farmer Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,500 a tonne.
The refusal by juice factories to purchase infected and under-grown Thotapuri mangoes is also a reason for the farmers' woes. The factories have turned to Bangalore district and some border districts in Andhra Pradesh to procure mango for their produces.
The mango farmers are now demanding that the Government announce minimum support price for mango. “The Government provides minimum support price for paddy, sugarcane, red gram and other crops. Why shouldn't mango growers also be benefitted by the facility?” asked Ramappa, a farmer.