Heaps of fruit lay scattered in many orchards in Krishna district

Farmers have expected a ‘windfall’ and consumers are eagerly waiting for the ‘king of fruit’ to enter the market.

But, Saturday’s rain and gale dashed the hopes of one and all. Farmers, however, were the worst-hit.

The early morning activity in the mango orchards in the Central and Western Krishna district on Sunday reflected the extent of damage nature had caused to the farmers. In one orchard after the other, farmers were seen collecting the fruit that dropped under the impact of the sudden rain and gale.

“Our dreams have been shattered,” said the farmers. Heaps of damaged fruit were lying scattered under the trees in the orchards at Mylavaram, A. Konduru, Gampalagudem, Tiruvuru, Vissannapeta, and other mandals in the district.

In many orchards, workers piled up the damaged fruit that included varieties such as ‘banginapally’, ‘chinna rasalu’, ‘pedda rasalu’, and ‘totapuri’, and shifted the stock to the local markets.

In some orchards, many trees were uprooted causing heavy loss to the farmers.

“I invested Rs.50,000 on pesticide, wages, and other purposes. We have expected a bumper yield. But nature has left only tears for us,” said a farmer G. Madhava Rao.

Another farmer V. Ramanaiah said the damaged fruit would fetch very low price in the market.

Ten workers were needed to collect the damaged fruit from five acres of orchards. They had to be paid Rs.150 to Rs.200 per head per day.

Proceeds from the sale of damaged fruit would not be sufficient to meet labour and transport charges, he said.

“We planned to pluck the fruit in the first week of May, as they will be ripe by then. Fruit that naturally ripe on trees will be sweet and are good for health. People prefer to consume such fruits, as they are free of chemicals. The heavy gale damaged the ripe fruit causing severe loss,” said Mr. Ramanaiah.

Farmers dumped the damaged fruit on the roadside at Velvadam, Pata Naguluru, Keertirayanigudem, and other villages.

Horticulture officials are estimating the crop loss in the district.