‘Adequate moisture in the soil helps improve the fruit size'

The summer showers have come as a big relief for mango growers in the State.

The crop yield is expected to increase due to the “substantial” rise in the soil moisture levels. It also helps improve the fruit size.

The yield could have been “worse” this year if not for the summer showers, according to Horticulture Department authorities.

“Though the current season is described as an ‘off year' for the crop, we are expecting a yield of nearly 2 lakh tonnes. There are two types in an off year — good and bad off year. This season can be termed a ‘bad off year'. Nevertheless, the season is not disappointing,” S.V. Hittalmani, Additional Director of Horticulture (Fruits and Flowers), Bangalore, said.

Mr. Hittalmani told The Hindu that he had received reports of damage to mango crops in some parts of the State because of heavy rain and hailstorms. But, they were isolated cases, he said.

“We were awaiting the rain very much and the downpour in the recent days has brought much relief,” he added.

Last year, an “on year”, the State produced nearly 8 lakh tonnes of mangoes.

Sharp fall

During “off years”, the average yield would be around 3 lakh tonnes to 3.5 lakh tonnes. There have been examples of the yield crossing 4 lakh tonnes in some “off years”. However, this time, the yield would fall sharply, Mr. Hittalmani said, and added that it may not go beyond 2 lakh tonnes.

The Additional Director said fruit-fall was common during summer showers. But the fruits get damaged only when the rain was accompanied by hailstorm. “Of course, there have been reports of fruit-fall and damage to fruits in certain areas, but the situation is not alarming. The damage is not extensive. We can still expect quality fruits,” he said.

To a question, he said immature fruits that were artificially ripened had arrived in the market. The wholesale price of Badami variety was between Rs. 35 to Rs. 40 a kg, Raspuri Rs. 35 a kg and Saindoora Rs. 20 a kg. The retail price would be 20 to 30 per cent more than the wholesale price.

A mango trader on Akbar Road here said: “Mango arrivals have not been very significant. We are hoping to get quality fruits after a fortnight. Fruits have fallen off the trees in orchards due to rain.”

This year, the Department of Horticulture in Mysore is planning to hold a mango mela at Curzon Park to provide a platform for growers to market the produce and ensure that quality fruits reached people directly from the orchards.

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