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Steep fall in mango harvest; prices up

Our Bureau

Mr P. Radhakrishna, President of the Nunna Mango Growers' Association, says, "We have been pleading for a suitable crop insurance scheme for mango for years, taking into account the nature of the crop and the vagaries of nature. But the Government has not responded so far."


LATE BUT SWEET: Mangoes, the most favourite fruit, piled up at the Gaddiannaram wholesale fruit market at Kothapet, Hyderabad. According to the Market Secretary, this year the arrival of mangoes in the market has been delayed by a month. Last year, the prices per tonne ranged from a high of Rs 14,000 for Banganapalli variety and Rs 5,000 for Totapuri variety.

VIJAYAWADA, April 24

MANGO, known as the king of fruits and one of the delights of summer, is conspicuous by its absence in the markets of Andhra Pradesh and steep prices due to a drastic fall in yields have pushed the fruit out of the reach of the common man in Andhra Pradesh.

The Nunna wholesale mango market yard here, reputed to be the biggest in the country, presents a very depressing sight, as the yields in the major mango belt of Krishna, West Godavari, Khammam and West Godavari have fallen by 60-70 per cent.

The total production is estimated at 1.5 lakh tonnes as against the usual 4-4.5 lakh tonnes and consequently prices have shot up. The Banganapalli variety (A grade), the most sought-after from the State, is now being sold by the growers to the wholesalers at a rate of Rs 12,500-13,000 per tonne as against Rs 5,500-6,000 last season.

The second grade Banganapalli is being sold at Rs 8,000-11,000 per tonne against Rs 4,000-6,000 last year. The Totapuri variety is being sold at Rs 4,000-7,000 per tonne against Rs 1,500-1,800 last year.

Mango, according to the scientists as well as farmers, is as "an alternate fruit bearer", and as such bumper harvests and poor yields alternate in a cycle. But, even allowing for that factor, the fall in yields this season has been too drastic, according to the farmers.

"Last year, we had a bumper harvest and knowing the crop, we did expect a substantial fall in yields, but nothing so steep," says Mr S. Venkateswara Rao, a farmer at the yard.

"In the flowering season, during December-January, there was not much rain and during January there were heavy rains. The flowering pattern was not conducive for good yields," says Srinivas, another farmer.

Mr P. Radhakrishna, President of the Nunna Mango Growers' Association, says, "We have been pleading for a suitable crop insurance scheme for mango for years, taking into account the nature of the crop and the vagaries of nature. But the Government has not responded so far." He said that in the absence of such a scheme, farmers were unable to cope and in lean years, consumers were also suffering due to the high prices. He said there might be some improvement in the market next month, but on the whole there was not much to hope for this season.

There was no chance of any exports to other countries, because of the low yields and poor quality of the fruit, he said.

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