Misty March lends bumper mango yield

Favourable weather conditions in the flowering and fruit set months of December and March have facilitated the 50% flowering seen in mango orchards across the undivided Anantapur and Kurnool districts this year

April 27, 2023 11:08 pm | Updated April 28, 2023 07:48 am IST - NANDYAL/PUTTAPARTHI

The third week of March saw minimum temperatures ranging from 15 °C to 17 °C in Sri Sathya Sai and Nandyal Districts, resulting in a bumper crop yield.

The third week of March saw minimum temperatures ranging from 15 °C to 17 °C in Sri Sathya Sai and Nandyal Districts, resulting in a bumper crop yield. | Photo Credit: U. Subramanyam

The inclusion of mango plantation works under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) for the past 10 to 12 years has yielded fruitful results in the undivided Anantapur and Kurnool districts.

A remarkable growth can be observed in the number of hectares where mango cultivation is taken up in both districts. The conducive soil and weather conditions have also come as an added advantage.

The weather conditions were favourable in December last year, resulting in early flowering and fruit set in the mango orchards.

The misty weather that prevailed in the first half of March this year was a pleasant surprise for the mango farmers, which allowed the trees to have another spell of flowering and fruit set.

The third week of March saw minimum temperatures ranging from 15 °C to 17 °C in Sri Sathya Sai and Nandyal Districts, resulting in a bumper crop yield. 

Benishan dominates market in SSS District

Horticulture Officer Chandrasekhar tells The Hindu that Mango is cultivated across 21,000 hectares in the Sri Sathya Sai District, and around 50% flowering was observed.

Mr. Chandrashekhar says that 95% of the mango cultivation in the district was dedicated to growing the Benishan or Banaganapalli variety.

This year, flowering and fruit sets happened in three phases, and the mango prices went up from ₹70,000 to ₹80,000 a tonne. The average price hovered around ₹35,000 per tonne, Mr. Chandrashekhar says.

A good year for Anantapur district

This year, flowering was seen in 9,600 hectares and about 70% of the area is dedicated to growing the Benishan variety in the Anantapur district, said Deputy Director, Horticulture, B. Raghunath Reddy. He adds that there was a low yield last year, but this year’s harvest has compensated for the losses.

Mr. Raghunath Reddy adds that previously, in the undivided district, mango was grown on over 41,000 hectares and that the Kalyandurg area produced the best quality fruit in the district.

While spraying the fruits with ethylene in closed rooms is permissible, the Horticulture Department officials asked the traders to refrain from using carbide for artificial ripening.

As per the usual practice in the State, growers lease the orchards to traders for three years as soon as flowering starts with the idea that even one good year would compensate for two bad years.

This year, the growers are happy with the good yield and say that they have made profits even after deducting the losses incurred last year.

On-year crop in Nandyal dist

Nandyal District Horticulture Officer Nagaraju says that 2023 saw an “On-year crop”, which means that flowering was seen in more than 50% of trees.

The crop was grown on 7,000 hectares in the district, and the maximum and average price of the predominant Benishan variety fruit in the district were ₹80,000 per tonne and ₹40,000 per tonne this year, he says.

“Mango trees aged between 16 and 21 years give the maximum yield, and there would be a decline in the yield in trees over 35 years of age. The first five to six years will see no yield,” says Mr. Nagaraju.

This year, the average yield was 3 to 4 tonnes a hectare for the Benishan variety. He adds that late-season varieties like Neelum, Daseri, Himayet, and Amruthalu (Rasalu) will likely see lower yields this year.

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