Low yield will make ‘Aam’ turn ‘Khaas’ in UP this year

Lucknow, May 12 (IANS) ‘Aam’ is going to turn ‘khaas’ for the second consecutive year since the yield is much lesser than expected.

Mango growers in Malihabad on the outskirts of Lucknow say that the extreme temperatures in April have taken a toll on all varieties of mangoes.

“More than 20 per cent of the fruit has been lost due to the temperature that started rising in March and continued in April,” said Insram Ali, President of All India Mango Growers Association.

Naseem Baig, President of the Malihabad Phal Mandi Samiti, said, “This was not what we had expected. The flowering known as ‘baur’ got destroyed due to heat. The high temperature and scorching heat have not only impacted Dussehri but also the late maturing varieties like Chausa, Langda, Safeda and Lakhnauva, all of which are also high on export demand.”

Baig added, “When the baur itself gets destroyed it does not leave much for the growers for damage control.”

The saving grace, however, is the quality of the fruit which is expected to be better because the yield is low.

“Since less yield means more nutrition for the surviving fruits, Dussehri is expected to be sweeter, juicier and bigger in size and of course, more expensive too,” said Salim, another mango grower.

Dussehri is expected to hit the market by the end of May or beginning of June and the price will be decided after the harvest and assessment of quality.

A mango tree yields a good quantity of fruit every alternate year. Going by its cycle, Malihabad mango belt is in its ‘off-year’ and this has reduced the number of panicles already.

The onslaught of heat rendered another blow to the mango crop.

Mango crops are sensitive to weather changes during the flowering stage. Weather conditions affect the emergence of panicles (baur) which is the very first stage of the crop and usually happens in January.

This year, even the winters were quite harsh and extended and this made the panicles emerge very late in mid-February.

Uttar Pradesh has at least four lakh hectare under mango cultivation in north and central parts of the state.

It is the second largest mango producing state after Andhra Pradesh.

“Since the past two years, we have suffered huge losses because imports were impacted due to the pandemic and its restrictions. This year we hoped for a bumper crop but the weather has dashed out hopes,” said Insram Ali.