No easy pickings this season

No easy pickings this season

Mango famine ahead

No easy pickings this season

Vagaries of weather may hit the crop yield. File photo

Based on the early phase of flowering patterns in major mango-growing areas of Karnataka, the department has made a production estimate for the season which is rather dismal.

“We are not yet into the season, but the mango production is likely to be dramatically low this year, compared to what it was last year,” additional director in the department Dr S V Hittalmani said.

Hardly any flowering has happened in the early season of November-December in the mango-growing regions like Kolar, Chitradurga, Dharwad and around Bangalore, according to him.

Early estimates
As against 6 lakh tonnes of different varieties of mango production last year, Hittalmani said the early estimates for the coming season is 2 lakh tonnes — just one third of the last season’s production. The official, who has made a round of the state’s mango belt, attributed the likely production crash to unseasonal rain and higher humidity levels than normal, which are not conducive for flowering. Perhaps, not all hope is lost yet. There is the second flowering season in January-February.

Last year, too, the early flowering season was very patchy but the second season of flowering was very good.

However, even if the January-February flowering season turns out to be very good, it may not cover up for the expected production drop due to poor flowering in November-December.

Mango growers are already a worried lot.

In Ramanagaram and Bidadi, they are downcast. “In my 30 years as a farmer, I have never seen what I am seeing today. Very few trees have flowered in my 110-acre orchard,” said Ramakrishnaiah, a grower from Akkur near Ramanagaram.

H C Rajanna of Bidadi, who owns a 65-acre mango orchard, said: “I harvested nearly three crops last year, but this time there is nothing to harvest as there is hardly any flowering.” He attributed the dismal flowering to untimely rains.

Hittalmani said that of the total 1.4 lakh hectares of area under mango cultivation in the State, the prime fruit-yielding area is confined to about 85,000 hectares.

Considering this low-production projection due to poor flowering, he advised the growers take extra care to at least ensure that the production losses that happen due to pests and diseases are minimised.