COVID is dangling the hopes of the mango farmers

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Due to the high quality and size of the fruits, the Chittoor district has its own place in the mango trade and meets the requirements of both the pulp and the table type.

After battling the first wave of COVID-19 last year with low yields, delayed harvests and declining exports, mango growers now find themselves in a dilemma. The outlook for exports to the northern states and abroad is looking bleak due to the frenzied second wave of the pandemic.

The complete harvest of the predominant mango variety “Thotapuri” in 80% of the cultivated area is to begin from the third week of May, with a delay of two weeks this year. The season peaks in June and the curve will flatten out by mid-July. The harvest of the table varieties such as Benishan, Neelam, Romania, Alphonso and Kalepadu extends over 20,000 hectares, compared with the harvest of ‘Thotapuri’ on about one hectare.

Deputy Director (Horticulture) B. Srinivasulu said The Hindu The mango yield was expected to be around 4.5 lakh tons this year, compared to 3.5 lakh tons last year.

The official said the second wave of COVID had an impact on exports to northern states. “For fear of COVID, traders are unwilling to come here to buy the stocks, especially the bars. To help farmers, we had a virtual meeting with stakeholders, including the railway authorities. If all goes well, a Kisan Rail could be launched to transport the mango shipments to the northern states. We also plan to give farmers subsidies for transportation. In the first phase, this would be planned with a single car, and the number could increase as required, ”he said.

“For the ‘Thothapuri’ variety, which makes up 80% of the harvest, we have already given around 26 pulp industries in Chittoor approval to procure the stocks, mainly from the end of May. We have information that the pulp units are ready to take maximum stocks this year, ”said Srinivasulu.

A senior marketing wing official said the mango season had been severely delayed this year. As a rule, the first harvest stage begins in the first week of May. This year, apart from the market hall in Tirupati, no trading point could be seen anywhere else in the district.

Mango farmers in the Chittoor division said the outlook for exporting mangoes overseas this year was not good due to the pandemic. They had the feeling that there was no forecast of good production this season either. In addition, officials said the rate of return in 2020 was 35%, while in 2019 it was a meager 20%.

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