BENGALURU: Despite good flowering of the mango crop, the yield is expected to be only half the normal this year, all thanks to excess rainfall, thundershowers and hailstorms. Although the quality of the mangoes is good, the reduced yield may lead to people paying up more for the king of fruits.
Horticulture scientist Dr S V Hittalamani said this being an off-year, they expect only about 4 lakh tonnes of mangoes as against 8.5 lakh tonnes. The quality of mangoes will, however, be good, but one might have to spend more from their pocket.
Mango Board managing director Nagaraj told The New Indian Express that this time they were expecting good yield of fruits as there was better flowering till January. "But the rains and hailstorms have damaged fruits in many mango-growing areas."
Srinivasapura taluk in Kolar district from where large number of mangoes come, has been hit due to hailstorm. "Our officials are assessing the damage. We were expecting a good yield, but now we need to see how bad the situation is,'' he said.
In Karnataka, mangoes are grown on 1.7 lakh hectares in 16 districts including Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Bengaluru Rural, Dharwad, Haveri and Ramanagara. Annually, the state has can produce more than 7.5 lakh tonnes of mangoes. Of these, 10,000 tonnes were exported to various countries last year. This year, at least 25,000 tonnes of mangoes are expected to go to the USA, Singapore, the UK, Brazil, West Asia and other countries.
State’s mango growers have another problem on hand — the model code of conduct — which may stop the Karnataka Mango Board from announcing the annual Mango Mela, the biggest market for farmers. Last year, Mango Mela started on May 5 where there were close to 125 stalls, and mango growers from Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Ramanagara, Tumakuru, Chitradurga, Mandya and Bengaluru Rural districts participated.
Nagaraj said this year they are yet to decide when to hold the mela. Since there is the code of conduct in force, they are writing to the Chief Electoral Officer seeking permission to go ahead without a ceremonial opening. They are hoping to get permission, but "if they don't, we have to wait at least till May 20 or 25 till the new government is formed. By this time, it will be late as these are perishable products. Farmers will be in limbo,'' official sources said.
Every year, Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation — also known as Mango Board — organises the annual Mango Mela at Lalbagh in the first week of May.In Karnataka, every region gets mangoes in different weeks. While mangoes from Ramanagara have already started arriving, the produce from Kolar will arrive in May. By delaying mango melas, those whose yields are ready later will benefit. Mangoes, once ripened, can be kept for only up to four days. Every year, more than seven tonnes of mangoes worth `8 crore are sold at the Lalbagh mela alone.
In the past, the board has been organising mango mini-melas across Bengaluru, including at the railway and bus stations, Mysuru and other parts of the state where farmers are allowed to sell mangoes directly to customers.