CHITTOOR/TIRUPATI: The mango orchards which have been hit by thrips infestation and fruit flies gave a double whammy to Chittoor farmers, who were already on the back foot following delayed flowering due to prolonged North-East monsoon.
Of the 1.10 lakh-hectare mango orchards in the combined Chittoor district, trees in 60,000 acres in the western mandals, including Kuppam, Palamaner, Punganur and Bangarupalem regions have infestation. Farmers say the yield per acre, which was 4 to 5 tonnes in the previous year, may reduce by at least 50 per cent this season.
Speaking to TNIE, Subramaniam Naidu, a farmer from Bangarupalem, said the signs of fruit development show a reduction by 50 per cent yield this year with only 30 per cent of the trees giving fruits, compared to 70 per cent last year.
“While we are already disappointed by the low yield, the input costs have also doubled from Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000 per acre,” the farmer said.“Usage of pesticide has also been increased due to the infestation. We usually spray the pesticide twice for an acre. Now we are spraying for four times,” Subramaniam said.
Horticulture deputy director B Sreenivasulu told TNIE, “It is true that the mango produce is expected to dwindle this season due to pest infestation and flower abortions caused by moisture in the soil and irregular flowering on trees. However, we have to wait and see for the next 10 days to estimate the exact yield per hectare.”
“We need to consider a minimum of 4 to 5 years to analyse the overall fall in yield. While each hectare fetched 10 tonnes of mangoes in 2018, the same has now come down to 5 to 6 tonnes,”Sreenivasulu explained.