Vagaries of nature have hit hard the mango growers of Uttar Pradesh where almost 30 per cent of the crop has been damaged by bouts of unseasonal rains, gusty winds and hailstorms, raising fears of poor availability and high cost of the king of fruits.
“Almost 30 per cent flowering of mango has been destroyed because of the fury of nature in the form of untimely rains, hailstorm and thundershowers in different parts of the state,” President of All-India Mango Growers’ Association Insram Ali told PTI.
“This is not enough as the unpredictability of nature continues,” he said after a visit to Dehradun on Saturday to meet mango growers and assess losses.
The mango growers of Saharanpur have estimated that the losses amount to about 70 per cent,” Ali said.
“The mango growers’ woes are worse than that of other farmers as they are not entitled to the compensation granted by the government.
“We are raising a strong voice that they too be considered as farmers so that they can get various facilities,” he said.
Mango orchards in the state cover an area of about three lakh hectares and the annual output is 38 to 40 lakh tonnes, he said, adding that this fact can indicate the number of people involved in mango business.
“Though the government has announced compensation and relief for farmers whose crop has been destroyed in the rains and hailstorm, those involved in the horticulture business are not covered,” said Ali, who is also director in the National Horticulture Board.
“There is a strong demand among the mango growers for entitlement to government help and benefits and I am writing a letter to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in this regard,” he said.
In the Dehradun meeting, mango growers spoke in one voice that that there should not be no delay in conveying their demand to the government regarding adequate compensation, Ali said.
He said he would seek an appointment with the chief minister to apprise him of the plight of mango growers.
Ahsan Qureshi, President of the Behat unit of the Association, said losses in Saharanpur belt have been enormous and growers should get government help.
Not just compensation, mango growers should also get different subsidies so that they can flourish, he said.
Insram Ali, a big orchard owner, said though mango – especially Dussheri variety – has found favour with the connoisseurs in Saudi Arabia and Dubai, its export has not been up to the mark.
“Last year the export of mango had been only 8 to 9 tonnes… There is no subsidy in air freight… We have demanded 80 per cent subsidy for us to sustain,” he said, adding that there is also a need for aggressive brand promotion.
Padma Shri Haji Kalimullah, known for experimenting with mango varieties and naming them after popular personalities, said the crop has been hit hard in his Maliahabad area.
“High temperature is a must for the flowers to sustain,” Kalimullah said, adding that flowers have perished in rains and thunderstorm.
“As a result, the cost of the Dussheri mango is likely to go up by Rs 10-20 per kg,” he said, adding that last year, good quality Dussheri sold for Rs 40 per kg, while the Safeda and Chausa were pegged at Rs 30-35 per kg.
The state has a number of mango belts, the most famous being Malihabad in Lucknow besides those in Saharanpur, Shahabad, Hardoi, Bulandshahr, Amroha, Barabanki and Unnao.
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