The Haritha Development Association, an environmental organisation, has urged the government to ban the use of hormone spray in the mango trees of Muthalamada, known as the Mango City of the State for its commercial production and export of the fruits.

Association president Arumughan Pathichira in a statement has said that chemicals are sprayed in the mango trees for artificial flowering which is harmful to the trees and the fruits. Spraying of the hormone in the mango orchards will also affect the flowering cycle of other plants and trees in the area, he said.

The hormone is sprayed from July to August in Muthalamada. The chemical will affect the health of the mango tree and reduce its life span by ten years. But the manufacturers claim that its use will lead to earlier flowering and an increase in the number panicles.

The climate of Muthalamda is highly favourable for mango cultivation. Since the trees flower early here there is no need for artificial methods like hormone treatment. The unnecessary use of chemicals is an attempt to destroy the natural advantages of the area. The pesticide and hormone manufacturing companies are luring the farmers promising more yield and income, Mr. Arumughan alleges.

Once the chemical is used, the trees cannot flower without it. So every year the hormone treatment has to be done for getting yield. In Muthalamada the mango orchards are taken on contract by merchants and exporters from outside. The hormone treatment is done by the contractors to get maximum yield at a short time. The farmers are not fully aware of its harmful effects, he says.

Mango is cultivated in nearly 4,000 hectares by 2,500 farmers in Muthalamada and the annual production comes to 35,000 tonnes of high quality varieties including Alphonso, Malgova, Sindhooram, Kalapadi, and Banganapilly.