Heatwave conditions cause huge loss of mango crops in Bihar - Hindustan Times

Heatwave conditions cause huge loss of mango crops in Bihar

May 22, 2022 11:10 AM IST

65-70% of mango crops have got damaged in Bihar due to extreme weather conditions, say farmers and agri-scientists.

PATNA: Mango crops bear the brunt of heatwave conditions in Bihar with farmers and agri- scientists saying that 65-70% of mango crops got damaged in the state this time due to extreme weather conditions.

Never before had mango production been so low in Bihar in the last 50 years, says a scientist at BAU. (PTI)
Never before had mango production been so low in Bihar in the last 50 years, says a scientist at BAU. (PTI)

Scientists from the Bihar Agriculture University (BAU), Sabour, said that things has not been in favour of the mango crop since its flowering time in March this year.

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The early onset of summer in the state has badly damaged the mango flowers and fruits. Mangoes failed to grow in size and didn’t get stronger because of the poor pre-monsoon showers in the state.

Adding woe to the injuries have been the red-banded mango caterpillars which affected the fruits in their initial stage and continue to damage the crops, causing pre-mature falling of mangoes.

The state is known for its wide variety of mangoes which include Digha Maldah, Jardalu, Gulab Khaas and Aamrapali and among these Jardalu has been given the GI (Geographical Indication) tag.

Bihar ranks fourth in the list of mango-producing states, sharing more than 8% of the total mango production in the country. The top state in the list is Uttar Pradesh, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, according to APEDA (The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority), government of India.

During normal weather conditions, the state produces more than 15 lakh tonne mangoes while the area in the state under mango production varies from 1.58 lakh hectare to 1.6 lakh hectare.

“This year also the area of mango cultivation has remained the same, but production has decreased drastically. More than 65% mango crops have got damaged,” said Mohammad Feza Ahmad, associate director, research wing, Bihar Agriculture University, Sabour.

This is the first time that mango farmers have experienced the impact of climate change, he added.

“Never before had mango production been so low in the state in the last 50 years. I am worried about what the mango farmers will do this time. In fact, this is the season they earn money which helps them sustain throughout the year,” he said.

In fact, the state has been experiencing high temperatures since March which is the flowering time of mangos. “Maximum mango flowers got damaged due to unusually hot weather,” he said.

Amarendra Pratap Singh, agriculture minister, said that heatwave condition in the state had its adverse impacts over mango and other crops this time. “Farmers must be at a loss. We will definitely try to compensate for this loss,” he said.

The minister said that the heatwave condition is a Natural calamity. “First we will review the damage caused to the mango crop and the report will be submitted to the government,” he said.

Ashok Chaudhary, a farmer from Bhagalpur, widely known as the ‘Mango Man of Bihar’, said that hardly 30% of the total mango production of the state will survive this time.

“The heatwave conditions in the state has caused a huge loss. High temperature also catalysed the growth of red-banded caterpillars which are still damaging the fruits,” he said.

Many farmers feel the loss can be compensated through exportation of mangoes to foreign countries, he added.

“But sending mangoes through flight is a costly affair,” he said.

Sanjay Sahay, chairman, horticulture department, BAU, said farmers need subsidy in packaging of the products.

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