The soaring temperatures have, of course, ensured rapid decrease in the groundwater levels in various parts of the State. In the districts of Nizamabad and Kamareddy, groundwater has always been a major source of water for cultivation, due to the lack of enough irrigation facilities. However, the considerable fall in the availability of groundwater is now scaring away many farmers from the cultivation of mangoes.
“We have been motivating farmers to cultivate mango. But there is a need for a new variety of mango that can be cultivated in such weather conditions as well,” said Kamareddy DHO T Shekhar.
In the Mahbubnagar and Narayanpet districts, where favourable weather conditions would have resulted in a yield of around 50,950 metric tonnes, the results are no longer the same. Groundwater availability has been low in these districts as well, leading to poor water resources for irrigation. While the data collection is yet to be completed, mango produce from the two districts is expected to decline drastically this year.
The erratic weather conditions are the villain in a number of districts. According to Siddipet District Horticulture Officer (DHO) D Ramalakshmi, mango crops across 2,000 hectares were damaged due to thunderstorms in the district. “In another 2,000 hectares, fruits which were in initial stage of growth got damaged due to hailstorm. With the decrease in production, mango prices in the market are also increasing. Earlier, a kilogram used to be sold for `50, but now it is being sold for anywhere between `80-`100,” she stated.
Farmers of Khammam, on the other hand, have been suffering for the past few years. They are not getting any decent return on their investment due to crop damage, pest attack and untimely rains. L Venkateswara Reddy, a mango farmer in Kandukur village said, “We never expected such low yields. Forget profits, we have not even received the amount we invested.”
The situation is slightly different in erstwhile Warangal though. “We are expecting a 10% growth in production this year,” said DHO S Shankar. The district’s farmers, however, are unhappy with the mango prices.