Indian Mango production suffers from hot summer

The extreme temperatures and the absence of moisture in the air have badly hit the mango farms in Ramanagaram district, and the output is expected to decline drastically this season.

According to the Horticulture Department, the situation is similar in other areas growing mango across the State.

Sources say the total production is expected to dip by 20 to 25 per cent this time.

Mango is cultivated on around 1.7 lakh hectares in the State.

While the fruit is grown on 50,000 hectares in Kolar district, it is cultivated on 25,000 hectares in Ramanagaram district. Raspuri, Alphonso, Malgova, Bainganpalli, Neelam, Mallika, and Thothapuri are some of the popular varieties grown in Karnataka.

The production this season is likely to hover between 7.5 lakh and eight lakh tonnes. The target was nine lakh tonnes, a senior official in the department said.

Of this, Kolar growers are expected to produce 4.2 lakh tonnes, while the farmers in Ramanagaram are expected to produce 2.5 lakh tonnes.

The prevailing drought conditions have severely affected the mango farms in Ramanagaram.

Hundreds of mango trees in Ramanagaram and Magadi taluks have already withered because of the non-arrival of rain, says Thumbenahalli Shivakumar, a mango grower and senior Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) leader.

Mr. Shivakumar is one of the many growers who have suffered huge losses due to the fruit-droppings caused by the lack of moisture in the atmosphere.

In the past three weeks, more than 2,000 fruits have dropped at his farm in Thumbenahalli. “The size of fruits has also shrunk significantly,” he adds. According to a Nagaraj, a wholesale trader, the prolonged drought conditions have significantly brought down productivity across the State.

He says the mango season has commenced and the fruit has started arriving in domestic markets in almost all districts, but the size of all varieties has shrunk by around 25 per cent.

According to K.N. Roopashree, Deputy Director, Department of Horticulture (Ramanagaram), the production fall estimation is 20 per cent.

“Ramanagaram is one of the major mango producing districts in South India. Fruits dropping off trees is being observed in almost all the taluks,” she says.

Also, fungal infection has affected crops in some parts of the district, Ms. Roopashree adds.

And with supply set to take a hit, the price of mangoes is expected to increase in the domestic markets.