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Less yield, Covid dash mango growers’ hopes

Kadapa: Mango farmers in Kadapa, one of the mango grown districts in the Rayalaseema region, are a distressed lot. Reason: yield of mango has come down drastically reportedly due to changes in the climate. The Covid second wave situation in the country is also seriously affecting the export of mangoes and farmers fear losses like last year.

Mano is grown in a total 32,000 hectares of land in 41 mandals of the district. As against the normal yield of four tonnes per acre, getting anywhere between 1.5 to 2 tonnes has become hard now. That is a hectare is not even fetching five tonnes of mangos. Mango is predominantly grown in Railway Kodur, Rayachoti, Lakkireddypalle agriculture divisions and moderately cultivated in the rest of the areas.

Seventy five percent of these trees have reached the fruit-bearing stage. Khadar, Benisha, Bengaluru, Neelam, Malgoba,Himampasand, Rumani, Mallika, Lal Bahar, Neel Shan, Punasa and Cheruku varieties of mango are cultivated in the district and there is great demand for these fruits in rest of the country.

With a good amount of flowering a few months ago, mango growers in the state thought they would get a good yield. However, heavy rains in October-November last year when it was in the flowering stage which in turn increased moisture level in the ground, early morning fog, changes in the climate and pests infestation had severely impacted the mango yield.

As the yield is less than the previous season, demand for the fruit and price look encouraging. However, Covid second wave has dashed the hopes of mango farmers.

“We have suffered due to the changes in climate. We thought we would be able to reduce our losses by exporting the mangoes to other parts of the country. But, Covid second wave has thrown water on our plans. Fruit mandis in other states were closed owing to the intensity of Covid pandemic,” rues K Prabahaka Rao, a mango farmer in Railway Koduru.

Kadapa mango is exported to Gujarath, Delhi, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. With reports emerging of a possible lockdown, mango growers are apprehensive of a possible price fall.