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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Cyclone Aftermath: Orchards destroyed, mango farmers stare at losses; ‘Season may end early’

Besides mango, orchards of coconut and plantations of papaya and beetle leaf have also been damaged in the region.

Written by Gopal B Kateshiya | Rajkot |
Updated: May 22, 2021 7:30:00 am
Cyclone Aftermath: Orchards destroyed, mango farmers stare at losses; ‘Season may end early’An official release issued by the government on Friday stated that horticulture crops in 2,263 villages of 41 talukas falling in Amreli, Gir Somnath, Bhavnagar, Junagadh and Botad districts were affected. (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

MANGO SEASON in Gujarat may end early this year as gusty winds brought by cyclone Tauktae have destroyed orchards and the caused fruits to fall at the peak of the season, orchard owners and officers of state horticulture department said on Friday.

“Squally winds have damaged mango and coconut orchards in Gir Somnath and Amreli districts. High-velocity winds have caused fruits to fall down in Talala and parts of Junagadh also. We are conducting survey of the damage,” Arun Karmur, assistant director of horticulture in Junagadh, said.

Karmur added that mango orchards in Una, Kodinar and Gir Gadhda taluka have sustained large-scale damage. Mansukh Parmar, who owns a mango orchard spread over 40 bigha in Talala, said the cyclone has brought the mango harvesting season to a premature end for him.

“I had harvested around 30 quintals of mango and just as the harvest was peaking came Tauktae. The storm caused around 65 quintals unripe mangoes to fall down which are getting sold at Rs 30 to Rs 50 per box (of 10 kg each). Estimated five quintal fruits managed to survive the storm and are still on trees. But they are much smaller in size and have sustained damages so won’t fetch good price. This practically means, season will be over for me in couple of days once I cart all my fallen mangoes,” Parmar told The Indian Express.

Talala and adjoining areas are world famous for their kesar variety of mangoes. The mango season had formally began on May 4 when agricultural produce market committee of Talala started auction of the juicy fruits. Usually, the season peaks mid-May and generally marketing goes on for 30 to 35 days. This year, mango farmers were realising average Rs 400 per box.

“But the fallen trees are a big worry. They can’t be stored so we have to cart them to market. But they are fetching only Rs 30, which is equal to the price of a carboard box that I have purchased for packing mangoes. In any case, trees had bore less number of fruits this season and the cyclone has put paid to any hopes of that resulting into better prices,” Bharat Dobariya, a mango farmer from Madhupur village of Talala taluka said.

Tauktae had made landfall on Una coast on Monday evening as an extremely severe cyclone, bringing with it squally winds gusting up to 180 km per hour and torrential rain.

Parmar said that of around 425 mango trees in his orchards, 85 have been uprooted. Dobariya said that of 120 mango trees in his eight bigha orchard, 30 have been uprooted. “I had barely begun harvest when the cyclone came. I was expecting a harvest of 550 boxes but around 50 quintals have fallen to the ground. Trees now barely have two-three fruits each,” Dobariya, who also owns another orchard in the same village, added.

Those who had contracted the production of orchards are the worst hit. “I had contracted five orchards in Madhupur and was expecting a harvest of around 2,000 boxes of mangoes. Before cyclone, I had harvested 300 boxes and sold them in the market. I stand to lose harvest of around 1,700 boxes worth lakhs of rupees,” said Pravin Ranpariya of Madhupur.

Parmar, who is also a mango trader at Talala APMC, said that the yard has been recording arrivals of average 50,000 boxes for the past two days. “These are fruits whipped to the ground by cyclonic winds and therefore inferior in quality. I expect the arrivals to continue at this level over the next two days before starting to decline,” he said, adding, “Farmers have lost around 50 per cent crop to the cyclone.”

Besides mango, orchards of coconut and plantations of papaya and beetle leaf have also been damaged in the region.

“Somewhere, coconut fonds have been flattened, and elsewhere leaves and buttons have been damaged. This means, the next coconut season will be delayed by six months,” said the officer.

An official release issued by the government on Friday stated that horticulture crops in 2,263 villages of 41 talukas falling in Amreli, Gir Somnath, Bhavnagar, Junagadh and Botad districts were affected. These are also the distri-cts affected the worst by Tauktae and the release said that 339 teams have started surveying damages to orchards in these talukas.

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