Shortage in supply of the popular variety may keep the prices high
Mango farmers and traders in Maharashtra are worried this season as the popular Alphonso mangoes — native to the Konkan region of the state — are facing a significant drop in production this season. There has been a 40 per cent reduction in fruit production due to warming weather, claimed the producers.
Anirudha Bhosale, state president of the Mango Orchards Association and an orchard owner, said the warmer winters have resulted in a dip in the yields.
Bhosale told Down To Earth:
Mango requires colder conditions for flowering and fruiting, which occur during winter months. There were only four cold days in November and no significant cold days in December. The colder temperatures only dropped after mid-January, which is ideal for the inflorescence and fruiting of the plant.
Bhosale said once the trees flower in November, it takes another three months for them to bear fruits. “The fruits that we see in the market now are from the flowering in November. The ones that have flowered in January will reach the market in May,” he added.
Global warming reduces reproductive output for temperate multi-inflorescence species on the Tibetan plateau, according to a study published in New Phytologist in 2012. Temperatures that increase more in winter compared with summer reduce the number of flowers, it added.
Balraj Bhosale, a farmer, said the overall reduction in the produce is 40 per cent. The supply shortage is also likely to keep the prices at an all-time high.
The current average prices are Rs 400 per kilogram and may continue till the end of the season. Usually, the prices escalate during the beginning of the season once the produce enters the market. It reduces as the inflow of the produce increases, he said.
“But given the shortage, the prices may not reduce this season,” he added.
Bhosale said other varieties, such as Pairi and Kesar, are less likely to be affected. “The demand for these varieties is less and so is the consumer base. The market will not get affected by the change in production compared to Alphonso,” he explained.
Deepak Nagvekar, another mango grower from Ratnagiri, said the situation is far worse in some areas. “I have seen produce of only 25 per cent compared to last year. The situation is similar to other horticulturists in the vicinity,” he said.
Besides the warm winters, the monsoons also extended until November, which caused further delay in creating ideal conditions for flowering, Nagvekar said.
“Usually, the monsoon retreats by September end or October, but last year the season extended, further disturbing the conditions required to develop inflorescence,” he added.
Besides Maharashtra, Alphonso mangoes see high demand in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
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