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Unseasonal rains,hailstorms to hit Kesar mango production

Mango growers of Marathwada region fear more than 50 per cent losses this season.

With unseasonal rains and hailstorms likely to cause heavy damage to Kesar mango crops,in various pockets of Marathwada in Maharashtra,growers are worried that they will not be able to meet their export targets.

Unexpected showers lashed parts of the region last week. The current period is considered an important phase of flowering in the mango trees.

According to Dr G R More,Director of Research,Marathwada Agriculture University (MAU),Parbhani,the rains affect the crops in two ways. They mechanically damage the trees leading to crumbling of flowers. Secondly,the rains increase humidity levels that can cause ‘powdery mildew’ disease in the plants. Dr More reckons that the unpredictable weather will cause a dip in production by 20-25 per cent.

The mango growers,however,fear more than 50 per cent losses this season.

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Trayambak Pathrikar,secretary,Mango Growers’ Association (MGA) said this year has been particularly bad for the farmers. It all began after winter prolonged for a month,delaying flowering in mango trees by 20-25 days. In addition,the current rains have damaged the mango flowers.

According to Pathrikar,the areas affected by rains will witness a dip in mango production by 50 per cent while those affected by hailstones will lose all their crop.

Pathrikar said the special Kesar mango pockets like Paithan and Sillod in Aurangabad district were the worst affected by the weather.

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The Kesar mango traces its origin to Junagadh in Gujarat,and was brought to Marathwada a decade ago,and has since succeeded in dominating the traditional mango market in the region. Aurangabad,Jalna,Beed,Osmanabad,Latur and some parts of Nanded have emerged as the Kesar growing hubs. The mango is treated as an alternative to the more expensive Alphonso variety. It has a unique sweet taste and is characterised by its golden colour with green overtone.

Farmers in Marathwada exported about 170-200 tonnes of Kesar mangoes in 2008. The figure,however,scaled down to 50 to 70 tonnes in 2010 primarily due to domestic markets offering equally competitive prices. The six Kesar-growing districts in Marathwada together produce about 500 tonnes of kesar mango every year with farmers able to earn Rs 70,000-Rs 75,000 for every tonne exported. The MGA has been sending Kesar mangoes to the US for the past three years. The fruit is also exported to China,Hong Kong,England and the Gulf countries.

First published on: 11-03-2011 at 23:56 IST
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