Karnataka mango exports likely to beat virus gloom this year | Bengaluru News – Times of India

Emerging from the Covid shadow of 2020, Karnataka is set to ring in a juicy mango season this year, with an expected record yield of 16 lakh tonnes and potentially, a jump in exports as well.
Last year, the priced fruit was caught in the thick of the pandemic, with several countries scrapping imports over infection concerns. The yield too had shrunk to 7 lakh tonnes, due to unseasonal rains.
This time, say growers, the season is setting in at a time when the virus appears to be on the ebb and a mega vaccination drive is on, inspiring confidence in buyers at home and outside. “The present trend shows that we will see growth both in terms of yield and exports unlike last year,” said CG Nagaraj, managing director of Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Limited.
Nagaraj said the season will start with the entry of Sendura mangoes from Ramanagara in the first week of March, and it could last till July-August.
“We are in the flowering stage and the weather is good so far… hope there will not be many hail storms during summer, which is harmful to the mango crop,” said Nagaraj.
Although exports were at their lowest last year — at an estimated 1,000 tonnes against the normal 50,000 tonnes — farmers got good prices due to multiple factors, including the central government’s nod for inter-state sales which boosted demand amid short supply. The Gulf countries, US, UK, Canada and Netherlands are among the main mango importers from Karnataka, and this time around, farmers said buyers have already started approaching them. Although there is no clarity yet about the relaxation of Covid norms, the hope is that the situation will improve by March-April and exports can touch pre-Covid levels if not exceed them.
The one worry, say farmers, is the increase in cargo rates – from Rs 100 per kilo to Rs 250. “This may have a negative impact on demand in the international market. Also, higher production may result in a price crash in the domestic market,” said Mallanna, a mango grower from Ramanagara. M Kamalakashi Rajanna, former chairperson of KSMDMC, said it is time for the government to incentivise farmers. She pointed out that when the corporation required about Rs 20 crore for granting subsidy to farmers, the state government released only Rs 1.6 crore. “The government should immediately release adequate funds, otherwise it is going to be a missed opportunity.”
In Mysuru region, growers are expecting a 25% jump in the yield, from last year’s 8,000 tonne while K Rudresha, deputy director of horticulture, is expecting a yield of 12,000 tonne in the first week of May.
Growers in Dharwad are bracing for a drop in yield due to January showers damaging the flowers even as their Belagavi counterparts managed to revive the crop. “If there is good flowering, an orchard of 100 trees will be leased out for Rs 1.2 lakh. The traders will sell the fruit at Rs 4,000 per quintal. But this time things are likely to change,” said a farmer in Dharwad.
Together, Dharwad and Belagavi cater to 50% of the Alphonso demand in the state. There are about 28,000 farmers cultivating mango in Belagavi. The horticulture department helped spray the trees to protect against mildew disease and the yield is on track, they said. Deputy director of the Belagavi horticulture department Ravindra Hakate said the yield is likely to be double of last year’s.
(With inputs from Lawrence Milton, Gururaj Jamkhandi & Shreyas HS)

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