Karnataka: February showers impact mango yield in Dharwad | Hubballi News – Times of India

HUBBALLI: Unseasonal showers could not have been more ill-timed this year: The rainfall that the state received in February has extracted a steep price in the form of a drastic reduction in the yield of the mango crop. The horticulture department had expected a yield of 14 tonnes across the state, but the unseasonal showers forced the officials to revise the estimate to nine lakh tonnes. The reduction in the yield is likely to leave a huge gap in the supply chain, pushing the price of the quintessential tropical fruit up this summer.
Under the Prime Minister’s ‘Atma Nirbhar’ scheme, cultivation of mango was encouraged in Dharwad district. However, farmers and stakeholders fear that the unseasonal showers may well halve the expected yield of mango in Dharwad. Farmers engaged in the fruit’s cultivation, who had expected a healthy profit, are understandably anxious given the fall in the yield.
SV Hittalamani, technical consultant for Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Ltd (KSMD&MCL), said that an estimated 90% of the fruit-bearing flowers were blown away or lost in the wake of the heavy showers.
Professor in post-harvest technology at the University of Horticulture Sciences in Bagalkot Laxman Kukanoor said that mist in the coming days was likely to compound the woes of mango cultivators in the Dharwad-Belagavi belt, already reeling under the losses they have incurred from the rain in February. “They also have to watch out for diseases such as powdery meadow and sooty mould. Fruit fly may result in further loss of the crop in the coming days. We are trying to raise awareness among the cultivators about the perils of these diseases. We are also helping them use fruit fly traps and yellow sticky traps, in addition to guiding them in ways to enhance the quality of the mangoes,” Kukanoor said.
Basavaraj Vibhuti, who is engaged in organic cultivation of mangoes, admitted to adverse climactic conditions wreaking havoc with the hopes of the farmers. “We may end up having to sell our crop for Rs 20 per kg. Many farmers have taken to removing mango plants from their fields. This is a double jeopardy: Farmers will earn less, while the consumer will have to pay a steep price for the mango,” he added.
KSMD&MCL managing director CG Nagaraj said that they were holding workshops to educate farmers and equip with technical and marketing skills. “We are also encouraging them to sell their produce online. This will help offset losses they have suffered in the wake of the rain in February,” Nagaraj said.

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Sagar Biswas

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