Sluggish monsoon, dust storm spoil fruit king’s taste
Mango lovers this season are a disappointed lot. Several varieties of mangoes lack the taste and flavour possibly due to frequent dust storm and delayed onset of monsoon and major shortfall in pre-monsoon rain.
According to horticulturists, regular thunderstorms, dust storms and deficient monsoon have impacted the sweetness and pulp quality of mangoes across the country. This has impacted not only the quality of fruits but also hit the prices. Thus, even after spending good money, consumers won’t be able to enjoy the delicacy of mangoes.
A retailer in Delhi said the fruit that is coming into the market now is smaller in size by almost 10-20 per cent and it is less delicious. “Except Maldah and Chausa, most of the varieties of mangoes which include Dusehri, Langra, Safeda from Andhra Pradesh and Badami mango from Karnataka are not delicious and they are tasteless,” said a fruit vendor of Ghazipur mandi.
The mango varieties such as Mallika, Raspuri, Safeda, Badam, Sinduri, Langra, Maldah, Totapuri, Chinna Rasa, Dusheri, Amrapali, Malgova, Banginapalli, and Kesar are being sold for Rs 50 to Rs 150 per kg depending on the quality and localities in Delhi.
Rajendra Sharma, former president of Azadpur Mandi, said in Uttar Pradesh’s famous mango belts which produce the best varieties of Dussheri, Chausa and Langra, temperatures has played an adverse role. “Unexpected thunderstorms and rain brought the temperatures down when the fruit need it. Now, monsoon rain is needed for mangoes for its sweetness. That is also missing,” he said.
Insram Ali, president of All India Mango Growers Association (AIMGA), said the temperature was supposed to increase gradually and this has not happened.
This has hampered the quality of Dussehri and Langra. “Pre monsoon and monsoon rain is must for sweetness and pulp quality of mango,” Ali said. Nearly 50 to 70 trucks of mango comes every day in Delhi. “Despite the claims of the Government, the production of mango is only 20-30 per cent this season. Dusehri mango will be finished in the next few days,” he said
Horticulturists said the flowering generally begins in September-October. The rainfall between September and November last year had already increased moisture in the air, setting off the delay in mango farming. Harvesting of the crop is taken up from March onwards. “But this season, due to low night temperature and unfavourable climatic conditions, flowering has been delayed. And this has impacted fruit-bearing to some extent. To increase the crop yield and ensure early ripening, farmers have increased the use of ethylene, a natural plant hormone. Traders are also using the banned calcium carbide to ripen the fruit,” said Ajaib Singh, an expert of mango fruits.
According to Agriculture Ministry, the main mango producing States are Uttar Pradesh (23.86 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (22.14 per cent), Karnataka (11.71 per cent), Bihar (8.79 per cent), Gujarat (6.00 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (5.09 per cent). The data shows the total production of mango was recorded 20,955 thousand Metric Tonnes (MT) in 2018-19 as compared to 21,822 thousand MT in 2017-18 in the country.
Tuesday, 02 July 2019 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi
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