King of fruits on the wane; off season disappoints mango lovers in city

Poor arrival of mangoes attributed to failure of April showers

Its the season for the king of fruits to flood the market but a lack of good quality mangoes has left people feeling disappointed about not getting enough of their favourite fruit. A failure of pre-monsoon showers, drought and the fact that this year is an off season year have adversely affected production.

According to the Horticulture department, as compared to districts such as Kolar, Mysuru district is not known for cultivating mangoes but over the years the area under mango cultivation here has increased. However, the output of mangoes in the Mysuru region this year has been below average leaving mango lovers disappointed. An off season has further compounded the situation leaving the market devoid of good quality mangoes but prices have nonetheless been shooting up as compared to the previous year.

The mango season here begins from March and continues up to May and the market is usually flooded with Badami and Raspuri variety of fruits by April. Even as all popular varieties of mangoes are grown in Mysuru, this year however, Neelam and Thothapuri variety of mangoes, which generally arrive during the fag end of the season, were available in March leaving buyers rather confused.

Dinesh, Senior Deputy Director of the Department of Horticulture, told DH that, “A failure of pre-monsoon showers and drought have contributed towards the dwindling mango production this year. Moreover, the season is also an off year for mango production,” he said. Kolar district is the major producer of mangoes this year, he said.

Other major mango belts in Karnataka are Tumakuru, Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, Belagavi and Dharwad. On an average, Karnataka produces nearly seven to eight lakh tonnes of mangoes during the season and two to three lakh tonnes during the off season.

The popular Alphonso variety is grown in H D Kote taluk, which is the highest mango producer in the district. Bilikere, a hobli on the Mysuru-Hunsur road, is one of the areas where export-quality Alphonso is cultivated.

The other varieties of mangoes grown in the district include Raspuri, Malgova, Badami, Sindhoora, Mallika, Neelam and Tothapuri. The fruits were even purchased by traders from neighbouring states Tamil Nadu but due to less production this year, the traders are unable to meet the demands of the neighbouring states.

The only heartening news has been that over the years farmers have been encouraged and been made aware about the benefits of growing mangoes leading to the production area increasing every year in the taluk.

Target to plant saplings
According to available details, the department had a target of planting mango saplings in 6,000 hectares for the year 2017-18 and was successful in achieving 5,528 hectares. However, crops got affected in 957 hectare and total loss has been put at below 33% in 879 hectares.

When contacted, Hopcoms Managing Director B C Anand said that locals believe that mangoes should be consumed only after the district receives its first rain. The mangoes are supplied to the society from growers in Mysuru taluk. Badami and Rasapuri variety is supplied in large quantities. About 500 kg of fruits are purchased from farmers everyday at a price of Rs 55 for Badami and Rs 45 for Rasapuri depending on the quality, he said. However, the selling price of these fruits are around Rs 70 and Rs 60 per kg, he said. Last year, mangoes were sold at an average of Rs 40 to Rs 45 per kg.

Siddegowda, Gram Panchayat president and a farmer from Jayapura hobli, said that a severe drought has hit production of mangoes, coconuts and sapota in the region. It is possible to save the crop only if lakes in the region are filled and borewells rejuvenated. It is too late and even rains cannot save the crops now, he said.

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