Kesar mangoes: Gujarat farmers upset over crop loss

June 08, 2022 12:00 am | Updated 05:36 am IST - GIR SOMNATH

The plight of farmers is likely to have a bearing on the upcoming State Assembly elections in Gujarat

Labourers show plucked Kesar mangoes at a farm in Talala, Gujarat, which werebadly damaged due to lastyear’s cyclone Tauktae.VIJAY SONEJIVIJAY SONEJI

Labourers show plucked Kesar mangoes at a farm in Talala, Gujarat, which werebadly damaged due to lastyear’s cyclone Tauktae.VIJAY SONEJIVIJAY SONEJI

Dhaval Kotadiya is a 24-year-old LLB first semester student residing at Talala Taluk in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat’s Kathiawar area. He lost his father when he was studying and he had to take care of the 400 Kesar mango plants, which the district is famous for, in three hectares of his family property. He thought that the crop, which also carries a geographical indication tag, will continue to help his family.

But the situation became difficult after Cyclone Tauktae hit the Gujarat coast in 2021. “We did not get any compensation despite promises after the cyclone. Then, in 2022, the production dramatically decreased. In my farm, the yield was 70% less than the previous years,” Mr. Kotadiya said.

Agricultural scientists attribute this loss to climate change. “The decrease is 70% in the region. We had requested the State government to send a team of experts to study the reasons for such a huge decrease. But no action has been taken yet,” said Sanjay Shingala, a local BJP leader and chairman of the Sardar Patel Mango Market, Talala, one of the largest trading centres of Kesar mangoes in the area. The Agriculture Products Marketing Cooperative market used to trade 12-13 lakh boxes of mangoes, each containing 10.5 kg. “This year we received just three lakh boxes of mangoes even as the harvest season has come to an end,” Mr. Shingala said.

The area has about 15 lakh Kesar mango plants in about 10,000 hectares. Thousands of families are dependent on this stream of horticulture, which has a lot of followers in the U.K. and the U.S. “On an average, we used to export 500 tonnes of mangoes from our APMC facility. The COVID-19 and the cyclone had an impact on the exports in 2020 and 2021. This year, we could send just 20 tonnes so far due to the shortage,” said APMC secretary Harsukhbhai Jarsaniya.

Political hue

As elections to the Assembly is round the corner, the issue is getting political colour too. Almost all the MLAs in the Kesar-growing region are of the Congress. The BJP is trying to put the blame on the MLAs. “They did not raise our issues in the Assembly,” Mr. Shingala said. He added that the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh has requested the State government to include mango in the relief scheme for farmers.

However, the Congress says absolute apathy of the BJP government added to the plight of farmers. “MLAs do not have any particular power to help the farmers. But not just the MLAs in Gir Somnath district, all our MLAs have raised this issue in the Assembly and outside. The storm of last year created havoc and the Gujarat government sought Rs. 11,500 crore from the Centre but the Centre completely ignored this request. Farmers were denied any compensation. It is a permanent crop for 40-50 years and the loss for farmers is permanent,” said chairman of Kisan Congress in the State Palbhai Ambalia.

In 2000-2001, 15,510 quintals of mangoes were traded from the market at Rs. 825 per quintal. In 2010-11, the market sold 1,48,702 quintals of mangoes at a rate of Rs. 1,430 per quintal. In 2015-16, it came to 71,733 quintals and the rate was Rs. 2,500, in 2016-17, the production was 1,06,686 quintals and the rate was Rs. 2,830. In 2018-19, 83,034 quintals of mangoes were traded at a rate of Rs. 3,100. In 2019-20, it was 77,539 quintals and the rate was Rs. 3,450. In 2020-21, 68,703 quintals were traded and the rate was Rs. 3,750 per quintal. And in 2021-22, so far the market received 58,559 quintals and the rate is Rs. 3,550.

Trees cut down

Yousuf, a farmer, said he had to cut his trees as it was difficult to maintain them. The average input cost for one hectare is about Rs. 70,000. “I planted some vegetables in that space,” he said.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.