Those waiting to relish mangoes this summer should be prepared to shell out more as the king of fruits has become dearer.

Horticulture experts had predicted a sharp fall in mango production because of the vagaries of the weather since October-November last. Correctly enough, the fruit has not flooded the market as in other years.

Normally, prices are high at the beginning of the season, but stabilise later. However, this year, experts maintain that prolonged flowering between November-December and February had delayed fruit formation, and fruits are expected to ripen only in the early monsoon. With the onset of the monsoon, the fruit is prone to worm infections. “This not only brings down the quality of the fruit, but also its yield,” the experts said.

In the city, the Badam variety is selling at Rs. 100 to Rs. 120 a kg. In April last year, the same variety was available for Rs. 40 a kg. Likewise, Alphonso mangoes were selling at Rs. 460 a dozen at a shopping mall here, Raspuri at Rs. 70 to Rs. 80 a kg and Sindoora for Rs. 40.

Deputy Director of Horticulture Nagaraj told The Hindu that this year was considered off-season for the mango crop, as the last year's yield was good. Flowering had been delayed owing to uncertain climatic conditions in November last and fruit formation had also been affected owing to high temperatures.

“The prices may go up further. We are also getting reports that the production has fallen considerably this time for various reasons,” the official said.

This trend is not confined to Karnataka, but also to other mango-growing States such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. “The production is likely to be average and below average in most parts,” he said.

Nevertheless, other varieties such as Sindoora, Mallika, Neelam and Thothapuri, which usually arrive at the end of season have not been affected, but the production of popular and lip-smacking varieties like Badam, Raspuri, Malgao, Benusha and Baganpalli have been affected.

Karnataka produces nearly six to seven lakh tonnes of mangoes during the season and two to three lakh tonnes every off-season.

The popular Alphonso variety is grown in H.D. Kote taluk, which produces the highest number of mangoes in the district.

Srinivasapura in Kolar district is the largest mango producer in the State, with almost 50 per cent of the mangoes in the State coming from Srinivasapura. Tumkur, Hassan, Chikmagalur, Belgaum, Dharwad and Davangere are the other mango-growing regions in the State.

Almost 1,000 acres of land is under mango cultivation in the district. Thanks to the subsidy given under the National Horticulture Mission and the Dry Land Development Board (DLDB), the area under mango cultivation is rising each year, and the district, though not in the forefront of production, is slowly emerging as one of the major mango growing areas.

Keywords: Seasonal fruits

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