The mango crop in the country has been damaged up to 20 per cent because of untimely rains, hailstorm and strong wind, according to senior ICAR officials. Many mango growers said the damage has been huge in North India due to hailstorm and thunderstorm.
Mango is an important fruit crop in India and popularly called the 'King of Fruits'. India is a major mango growing country, contributing nearly 42 per cent of the world’s production.
Since last few days, unseasonal rains, hailstorm and gusty wind due to the western disturbance have impacted both foodgrain and horticultural crops in some parts of the country. "First untimely rains did not cause damage, but later rains and hailstorm have badly impacted the mango crop. We anticipate the total damage to be about 20 per cent as of now," Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR) Deputy Director General (Horticulture) A K Singh told PTI.
The frequency of the mango crop loss has been more in North India, especially Uttar Pradesh which is a leading mango producing state in the country. The anticipated mango crop loss in North India alone is about 30 per cent, while in South India the damage is less than 8 per cent, he said.
However, the fresh data is awaited from states, he added. Lucknow-based mango grower Upendra Singh, who owns a 5-hectare mango orchard, said, "There has been up to 75 per cent damage due to hailstorm in Maal-Malihabad mango hub area. In places where there was only untimely rains and no hailstorm, the damage has been less."
"The mango crop condition till March 19 was best in last 30 years. From March 20, unseasonal rains and hail have brought huge damage," he said and added that high moisture during flowering stage has led to black fungus.
Tafari Farmer Producer Company Director Atul Kumar Awasthi said, "Fruits had set in but strong thunderstorm and strong wind led to fruit drops and the crop damage is estimated to be about 25 per cent."
The high moisture has caused pest infestation in mango trees in some parts. This will affect availability of quality mangoes for export purpose, he said. ICAR-Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture Director T Damodaran said there has been up to 50 per cent damage in Maal-Malihabad belt bordering Sitapur district mainly because of thunderstorm and hailstorm.
Otherwise, the crop condition is "very good" in six out of seven major mango-growing districts including Lucknow, Hardoi, Kushinagar, Gorakpur, Aligarh, Saharanpur and Barabanki, he said.
The country's mango production was at 210 lakh tonne in 2021-22 crop year (July-June), as against 203.86 lakh tonne in the previous year, as per the government's estimate.