Lucknow, March 30 (IANS) Unseasonal rain earlier this month has caused considerable damage to the booming mango crop in the Malihabad mango belt.
The showers on March 17 and 21 have damaged the flowering mango trees, most of which have lost the ‘baur (clusters of flowers).
Insram Ali, president, All India Mango Growers Association, said that the adverse weather has damaged at least 50 per cent of the ‘baur’.
The varieties that were the worst hit include Dussehri, Chausa, Langda and Lakhnauva Safeda. Whatever flowers are still visible on trees may or may not develop into a healthy fruit, he said.
Insram Ali further said, “With weather, you cannot predict anything. It is still two months before the fruit is fully developed and the extent of damage will be fully known later.”
Malihabad is the biggest producer of Dussehri, the famous mango variety, known worldwide.
“By mid-March, all mango trees complete their flowering stage and within a week, fruit sets in. The rain on March 17 was very damaging because that was just when the flowers would have opened, and pollination happened. But rain made the flowers either drop or turn black. The few that remain, at least, need conducive weather now,” said Naseem Ahmad, a mango grower in the region.
Mango growers have also seen a fungal attack on most flowers which will affect the quality of the fruit.
Going by the Malihabad mango cycle, it yields good fruit every alternate year. This was the on-year for the belt and there would have been a bumper crop.
Mangoes need a temperature between 27 degrees to 35 degrees Celsius to grow ideally in March and April. Temperature less or more than this damages the fruit.
Cloudy weather, high humidity and high velocity winds further hit the crop.
Malihabad has an average annual production of 6-7 lakh MT of mangoes, Dussehri being the foremost.
Uttar Pradesh produces around 40 lakh MT of mangoes every year with about four lakh hectares under mango cultivation in north and central parts of the state.
It is the second largest mango producing state after Andhra Pradesh and the biggest producer of Dussehri mango.