Mango is a major crop in West Krishna and Nuzividu regions grown in about 50,000 hectare.
Mango growers from Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh, which is famous for Banganpalli, Chinna Rasalu and Pedda Rasulu varieties, are expecting about 50% losses due to unseasonal rains and high velocity wind.
The growers said the overall production is relatively low at 50% though the complete harvest is still due till month- end. Further, due to lockdown, the local traders are unable to lift the produce from the farmers to supply to retail markets.
Andhra Pradesh has around 1.5 lakh acre under mango cultivation and the average yield is around 4.5 tonne per acre. “The crop is almost ready to be harvested. But due to unseasonal rains, we are doubtful of a bountiful harvest from mango orchards,” said horticulture department officials.
Moreover, in initial stages, there were incidences of delayed flowering and thrips attack on fruits thereby reducing the total productivity, officials said. The Mangu or thrips attack had affected the coastal areas and most of the flowers, which were set to become fruits, withered due to strong winds which almost shook the whole tree.
Mango is a major crop in West Krishna and Nuzividu regions grown in about 50,000 hectare. “Due to Covid-19, availability of labour teams for harvest is an issue and even if the harvest is managed somehow, drivers to move truckloads are difficult to align,” said Nuzividu traders at Nunna market, which is one of Asia’s largest mango markets.
“The drop in production is due to late flowering in trees due to prolonged winter and uneven weather conditions. However, we anticipate the harvest to start increasing from the first week of May 2020 when one of the major mango cultivation belt Chittoor will start harvesting,” said Palat Vijayaraghavan, founder & CEO, Lawrencedale Agro Processing India (LEAF), an agriculture-value chain major that supports marginal farmers through integrated solutions.
The company sources Banganapalli variety of mangoes from Andhra and is expecting Chittoor harvest to boost the volumes. “We have been working with Andhra Pradesh mango farmers for many years and even during this year, we are continuing the work,” said Palat Vijayaraghavan.
He said the Andhra Pradesh horticulture department had been supporting LEAF and also the mango farmers on an aggressive war-footing basis and on a weekly basis, LEAF had been procuring tens of tonnes of mangoes from Andhra Pradesh and which is getting good acceptance across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. “The availability of mangoes is decent so far and quality is good.”
“With the widespread opening of wholesale markets across North India in the likes of Azadpur mandi, many mango farmers are liquidating their harvest towards those markets, which is a good sign for farmers, given the current critical external situation of Covid-19. Earlier, the farmers had less options to sell while now the options are growing,” he pointed out. The only saving grace is that the marketing department is likely to procure the produce directly from farmers and middlemen can be avoided.