The rain and strong winds have affected the ripening of the fruit
The pre-monsoon showers may have brought down the temperature, but mango growers in Dharwad district are a worried lot.
The rain, accompanied by wind and hail, has damaged the ripening mangoes.
Mango is the main horticultural crop of the district. This year, it is being grown on 12,000 hectares, with the majority of farmers opting to cultivate the Alphonso variety, known locally as ‘Appus'.
The yield is good once in two years. Last year, the yield was poor. Hence, growers were expecting a better crop this season.
Growers at Mugad, Nigadi, Mavinkopp, Murkatti and Salakinkoppa said the first yield was expected in the next 15 days, but most of the fruits withered. While the farmers claim 70 per cent loss in yeild, officials of the Department of Horticulture estimated it around 15 per cent.
N.R. Mamle Desai, scientist at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, advised farmers not to panic. It was natural for pre-monsoon showers to damage the crop, but the moisture in the soil would help the remaining fruits to gain around 30 per cent extra weight, fetching more income, he said.
He said the average mango yield was expected to be lower. Hence, growers would get good returns if they avoided middlemen (whose share would be 33 per cent) and waited for the right time to sell their produce.
The university and the Horticulture Department would organise a three-day ‘Mango Mela' here from May 19. Participating farmers had to sell fruits ripened without using calcium carbide, directly to consumers, Mr. Desai said.