Climate change causes mango crop losses

In Uttar Pradesh, northern India, unusually warm weather in December, related to El Nino, has caused mango trees to flower early. Now growers fear that the fall in temperatures witnessed lately will hit crops meant for the summer market, as flowering mango trees need consistently warm weather to fully ripen.

Coupled with the earlier warm winter, the expected sudden drop in temperature has added to the problems for mango growers.

“This in turn has led to the mango malformation disease hitting the flowers across Uttar Pradesh,” said Anirudh Dubey, agro-meteorologist at Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur.

Mango cultivation in UP is concentrated in two belts: northern belt (spanning Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Bagpat, Meerut, Jyotiba Phule Nagar and Bulandshahr) and central belt (comprising Hardoi, Sitapur, Barabanki, Lucknow, Unnao, Pratapgarh, Varanasi and Faizabad). The Maal-Malihabad-Kakori belt alone contributes at least 30 to 40% of the state’s annual mango production.

Inseram Ali, president of the Mango Growers’ Association of India, said that the government had not extended any kind of help to mango growers. “While other farmers have been compensated for the loss, people dependent on the mango trade, right from growing till selling the crop, have not received any compensation,” he said.

“There has been a loss but it’s difficult to say anything about the exact impact at this stage,” said Vikram Singh, a mango farmer in Agra, adding that prices in summer will certainly go up if supply falters. Last year, the state produced 44 metric tonnes of mango which cost Rs 40-70 per kg at retail prices. This year, if the production is hit, the mangoes will cost Rs 10 to Rs 15 more per kg at the very least.

(1 Indian Rupee= 0.015 USD)