weather changes and unseasonal rainfall not only affected flowering of mangoes bu also long dip in production of Valsadi hafoos and kesar mangos is estimated. Heavy dew and less heat are expected to result in nearly 30% less production of these fruits in Saurashtra and south Gujarat. In Valsad district, which grew nearly 14 lakh tonnes hafoos in Gujarat last year, bouts of rain in November, February and March affected flowering.
Dr D K Sharma, in charge of Navsari Agriculture University’s (NAU) Pariya farm, the biggest research centre of mangoes in south Gujarat, said, “We had nearly 65-70 mm of unseasonal rains in November 2017. Mango trees had just started flowering and rains led to big vegetative growth on the trees. This took away nutrition from the flowering. Adding to this problem, we had sudden rise in temperature that resulted in the flowering and small fruits withering away.”
Sharma added that it is only the first flowering where fruits are little big now that would survive. But the fruits from the second flowering which are still small will wither away. We estimate 30% decrease in the production.
Rakesh Nayak, a mango farmer from Pardi in Valsad, said that we had very good crop last year but this season it would be 25-30% less due to withering of flowers.
Nearly 34,000 ha land is under mango cultivation in Valsad district. Last year, good quality hafoos sold at Rs 800 per 20 kg in early part of season to settle at Rs 700 per 20kg later. Kesar was sold at Rs 750 per 20 kg and settled at Rs 550 per 20 kg. This year, consumers will have to shell out at least 15% more. In Gir, which is famed for kesar, the mango production is expected to reduce by 33,000 metric tonnes compared to last year.
Traders, who book orchards of mango growers for a lump sum amount, are now trying to negotiate the earlier decided prices.
According to Gir Krushi Vasant Producers Company (GKVUS) supported by Nabard to help farmers selling their produce directly in cities, kesar production was last year was 2.11 lakh metric ton while this year, it is estimated to be around 1.78 lakh MT in Gir Somnath, Junagadh and Amreli districts.
Dr RS Chovatia, head of horticulture department in Junagadh Agriculture University said, “The climate change has affected kesar badly. The flowers are very sensitive and slight change in atmosphere affects them quickly. This year flowering was also affected due to unprecedented humidity and dew.”
Prashant Patel, a farmer of Bamansa village near Talala, said that generally traders deal for the entire orchards in January but this year, many are trying to renegotiate by asking farmers to share the loss because production is not expected to be good. In my village, a trader fixed a deal for Rs 4.50 lakh to by mangoes grown on 20 bigha orchard but they cancelled the deal before few days.