Farmers of Muthalamada grama panchayat here are probably the first victims of climate change in the State. The late flowering of mango trees has deprived them of the early-bird advantage in the Rs.300-crore export market. There are nearly 3,000 mango farmers in Muthalamada, known as the ‘mango city’.

Flowers bloomed late last year due to the heavy southwest monsoon and the previous year owing to severe drought. Unseasonal rain because of climate change had upset the plans of mango farmers of Muthalamada, known for its early mango harvest, said P.K. Haneefa, secretary of the Mango Farmers Association. Production would be only 10 per cent this season compared to the previous years.

“Besides Muthalamada, mangoes ripen in January only in Peru and Bolivia. So, Muthalamada mangoes fetch good export orders and high price as they are the first to hit the international market,” Mr. Haneefa said.

This is the second consecutive year that the change in climate had upset the calculations of the farmers, exporters, and consumers. Nearly 4,500 hectares are under mango cultivation in Muthalamada. The annual production is over 35,000 tonnes of Alphonso, Malgova, Sindhooram, Kalapadi, and Banganapilly varieties.

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