Recent storms accompanied by rain and hailstorm have dashed the hopes of mango farmers in Uttar Pradesh, compelling them to appeal to the government for help.
The mango growers of the state were expecting a bumper crop this time due to good flowering. However, the storm, rain, hailstorm and the resulting cold weather have damaged 2/5th of the crop so far.
Insram Ali, president of the Mango Growers' Association of India, told PTI on Sunday, "The climatic conditions were very good 10 days ago but the recent drop in temperature caused by rain and hailstorm have destroyed nearly 40 per cent of the crop," adding that if the climatic conditions continue to be erratic, further loss is expected.
He said this year the flowering of the fruit crop was very good and no disease of any kind was reported across the state. Kalimullah, a famous mango grower from Malihabad in Lucknow said the mango crop requires mild summer weather in the month of March to grow, but this time that did not happen. Last March, mango flowers were scorched due to scorching heat, he added, estimating this year’s loss around 50 per cent.
Ali said this year about 60 lakh metric tonnes of mango production was expected, but now it can get reduced to 35 lakh metric tonnes, which will be a big loss. If the weather remains like this for the next 10 days, then even more damage is possible.
"Last year in March due to severe heat, the crop had suffered a lot and only about 20 lakh metric tonnes of mangoes could be produced in the state. This year, mango growers have been hit by the weather for the second time in a row and the hopes of recouping last year's losses now seem bleak," he added.
Ali said the current damage has also affected the export of mangoes adversely. "If the domestic consumption is not met due to low production of mangoes, then it is bound to affect the exports," the farmer said.
Ali said, "The government should compensate the mango growers for this loss. We demand that the way the government compensates the farmers of other crops due to natural calamities, similarly the mango growers should also be compensated." The Mango Growers Association of India has put forth its demand in front of the government.
Accusing the governments of neglecting the mango growers, Ali said even though one crore people of the state depend on the mango business for employment, they are not considered farmers.
He told that in about 14 districts of Uttar Pradesh, mangoes are produced in about 1.5 lakh hectare area. These 14 districts include Lucknow, Unnao, Pratapgarh, Moradabad, Hardoi, Bulandshahr and Barabanki. The Dussehri mango, produced in Malihabad, Lucknow, is famous all over the world for its flavour and fragrance.