Bumper mango harvest this year

Shankar Bennur
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It is being seen as an ‘on year’ for the crop

The yield is expected to be at least eight lakh tonnes.— PHOTO: M.A. Sriram
The yield is expected to be at least eight lakh tonnes.— PHOTO: M.A. Sriram

In view of widespread flowering and formation of fruits in mango trees in the State, the Department of Horticulture is expecting a bumper harvest of mangoes this year which is being seen as an “on year” for the crop. In the current season, a yield of at least 8 lakh tonnes of mangoes is expected which would be three times higher than the previous year’s production.

The year 2012 was an “off year” for the crop as 2011 was an “on year”. Therefore, the overall mango yield achieved was less than three lakh tonnes. Due to the poor yield, the price of the fruit was on the higher side last year.

Despite drought and a continued dry spell, the horticulture authorities were foreseeing a reasonably good mango production, thanks to nearly 80 per cent of flowering and formation of fruits noticed in at least 16 mango-growing districts, including Kolar, Chickballapur, Dharwad, Belgaum and Mysore.

On the crop status, Additional Director of Horticulture (Fruits and Flowers) S.V. Hittalmani said that 1.60 lakh hectares of land was under mango cultivation in the State. As much as 15,000 hectares of area came under mango cultivation every year as mango is a dry-land crop which can survive without irrigation. It is also drought-resistant (the crop does not require regular watering after the fourth year of the plantation), he said.

Therefore, more farmers are switching to mango cultivation from agriculture crops such as millets.

Mr. Hittalmani, who studied the mango crop status in over a dozen districts recently, said that a bumper harvest of mangoes crop is expected this year.

Nevertheless, the fruit size may be reduced if there is no summer or pre-monsoon showers in April-May. Even the fruit quality may be affected in case of no rain in the crucial months, he said and added that one or two showers can ensure a quality crop yield.

Some early varieties of mangoes have hit the market. However, these varieties were from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The “real arrival”, as it were, of fruits takes place in the middle of April, he said.

“The prices may come down this year in the event of a bumper yield,” he said.

Mr. Hittalmani said that there market has not “accepted” new hybrid mango varieties as it had been noticed when such varieties were introduced in the past. Traditional varieties such as Alphonso, Badam, Raspuri and Neelam have good demand in the market and they actually drive the market as they have larger acceptance among consumers. Even farmers are averse to growing hybrid varieties, he said.

Mango melas

This year, mango melas, on the lines of the fairs held annually at Lalbagh in Bangalore, have been planned in almost every district to provide direct marketing benefit to the growers.

Mr. Hittalmani said that the department and the Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Limited have planned mango promotion in a big way this year because of the “on year”.

One of the aims of the corporation is to provide self-marketing avenues to the growers to keep middlemen at bay. “Growers can sell the fruit directly to consumers, thus establishing a win-win situation for the both the growers and the consumers. This helps them to get up to four times the price for their produce,” he said.

“Besides aiding farmers in cultivating quality mangoes, we also help them establish market linkage. Farmers wishing to participate in mango melas in the districts would get boxes for packing fruits,” he added.

  • This year is being seen as an ‘on year’ for the crop

  • Mango melas have been planned in almost every district

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