Alphonso farms in Konkan badly damaged by Cyclone Tauktae
With Konkan coast, home to the popular Alphonso mangoes, battered by Cyclone Tauktae, the mango plantation is badly damaged as gusty winds and heavy rain lashed the area.
Already hit by a drop in production because of climatic conditions and slowed down market, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the mango growers in Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and Raigad sustained huge losses after the cyclone.
The tree plantation of areca nut, coconuts and even chikoo in parts of the coastal districts on hectares of land have also been destroyed, leading to losses to the farmers.
“I have a list of many mango growers whose hundreds of trees have been uprooted and thousands of fruits ready to harvest or market, have been destroyed.”
“They will be literally on the roads because of the loans they borrowed from the banks for cultivation. The losses to the mango growers from these districts are expected to be
₹500 crore as per the rough estimate,” said Sanjay Yadavrao, Konkan Bhumi Pratisthan, the organisation engaged in the promotion of the tourism and business activities in Konkan.
Yadavrao said that the mango production was about 25% of its annual average owing to changes in weather and unseasonal rains, besides the drop in demand and logistical constraints in the market amid the pandemic.
“The economy of the coastal districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, Raigad is dependent on tourism, mango business and fishing with the annual collective turnover of ₹19,000 crore. The consecutive cyclones over the last three years have destroyed this economy completely.”
“It’s time for the government to give a stimulus package to the people engaged in these sectors as they give it for sugar factories in Western Maharashtra,” he said.
Umang Salvi, a mango grower who has orchards of more than 4,000 trees said he sustained the loss of around ₹15 lakh due to the cyclone.
“At least 1,000 crates full of mangoes were ready to market, but the stock is damaged in the cyclone on Monday. Hundreds of trees have either been uprooted or damaged badly which would affect their
production capacity for the next few years,” he said.
Like mango growers, the fisherfolk in coastal areas along the 720-km shore of the state have sustained losses because of the damages to fishing nets, trawlers, boats and watched away fish.
“Dozens of anchored boats have been damaged by collision during the cyclone in each of the koliwadas in these districts. This is the end of the season when tonnes of fish are kept for drying to market during monsoon. Tonnes of such stock has been washed away and we even would not be able to claim the losses for it as there is no proof left behind to the claims,” said Rajhans Tapke, general secretary of Koli Masangh.
Tapke said that the state government gave them peanuts as compensation after Cyclone Nisarga last year