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Warangal: Climate, corona shatter mango ryots dreams

Warangal: Climate, corona shatter mango ryots dreams
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Warangal: It's going to be a double whammy for the mango farmers this season as they now stand to lose a major portion of their income. What that playe...

Warangal: It's going to be a double whammy for the mango farmers this season as they now stand to lose a major portion of their income. What that played spoilsport for the mango farmers was climate and the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown. Firstly, the untimely rain that lashed better part of the erstwhile Warangal district in November last year had its impact on the differentiation of the flower bud in the shoots which eventually led to the delay of flowering. Adding more woes to the farmers was the hailstorm last month that damaged mango orchards.

Secondly, the ongoing nationwide lockdown has made it even more difficult for the mango farmers with traders, especially from Delhi and other north India not showing interest in purchasing the fruit due to Covid-19 scare.

On the other hand, the yield this season is expected to be around 1.2 MT per acre against normal 3.2 MT per year, according to Horticulture Department. It may be mentioned here that no less 90 per cent of the farmers in the region predominantly cultivate Benishan variety due to its demand in local and northern part of the country. The other varieties the farmers cultivate are chinna rasalu, pedda rasalu, totapuri and himayat.

Mahabubabad tops the erstwhile Warangal district with farmers cultivating mango in nearly 30,000 acres. Warangal Rural district is second in the region with cropping area spread across around 7,000 acres. Warangal Urban district has mango orchards in nearly 2,000 acres. While Mahabubabad produces 40,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) in a season, Urban and Rural districts together are expected to produce nearly 10,000 MT.

Speaking to The Hans India, Warangal District Horticulture and Sericulture Officer (DHSO) R Srinivasa Rao said: "It's been an unfortunate year for the mango farmers with several factors combining to hit their returns. Flower initiation got delayed due to untimely rains in November. Then the hailstorm last month also caused a further damage to the yield."

When asked about the prospects of mango trade, Rao said that the government is taking measures to purchase the produce from the farmers through Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) under District Rural Development Agencies (DRDA). Even in case of traders from north India fail to purchase, the farmers will be bailed out through SERP. The price provided by the SERP is also competitive. Moreover, the farmers also stand to get additional amount besides the support price if the SERP makes a good business, Rao said.

Although the market seems bleak, it's learnt that the farmers are bound to get Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000 per MT. It's much less than farmers' expectations that vary around Rs 50,000 per MT. Meanwhile, the mango arrival is expected to flood the markets in the first week of May.

K Thirupathi of Nerella village under Kamalapur mandal who owns mango orchard in three acres said: "In addition to the low yield this year, coronavirus lockdown has also affected our prospects as traders were not turning to purchase. I am also finding it difficult to get labourers to pluck the fruit."

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