Rains Damage 30 Per Cent Of Uttar Pradesh Mango Crop
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Almost 30 per cent of mango crops have been damaged in Uttar Pradesh by the recent bouts of unseasonal rains, gusty winds and hailstorms, raising fears the price of the king of fruits may rise this season.
"Almost 30 per cent flowering of mango has been destroyed because of the fury of nature in the form of untimely rains, hailstorm and thundershowers in different parts of the state," All India Mango Growers' Association President Insram Ali said.
"This is not enough as the unpredictability of nature continues," he said after a visit to Dehradun on Saturday to meet mango growers and assess losses.
The mango growers of Saharanpur have estimated that the losses amount to about 70 per cent.
"The mango growers' woes are worse than that of other farmers as they are not entitled to the compensation granted by the government. We are raising a strong voice that they too be considered as farmers so that they can get various facilities," he told PTI.
Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department and Irrigation Minister Shiv Pal Yadav has said that "as a quick relief measure, Rs 200 crore have been released by the state government to be disbursed among the farmers who have lost their crops".
Mango orchards in the state cover an area of about three lakh hectares and the annual output is 38 to 40 lakh tonnes, he said, adding that this can indicate the huge number of people involved in the mango business.
"Though the government has announced compensation and relief for farmers whose crop has been destroyed in the rains and hailstorm, those involved in the horticulture business are not covered," said Ali, who is also director in the National Horticulture Board.
"There is a strong demand among the mango growers for entitlement to government help and benefits and I am writing a letter to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in this regard," he said.
In the Dehradun meeting, mango growers spoke in one voice that that there should be no delay in conveying their demand to the government regarding adequate compensation.
Ali said he would seek an appointment with the chief minister to apprise him of the plight of mango growers.
The state has a number of mango belts, the most famous being Malihabad in Lucknow besides those in Saharanpur, Shahabad, Hardoi, Bulandshahr, Amroha, Barabanki and Unnao.
Ahsan Qureshi, president of the Behat unit of the association, said losses in Saharanpur belt have been enormous and growers should get government help.
Not just compensation, mango growers should also get different subsidies so that they can flourish, he said.
No Export Incentive
Ali said though mango - especially Dussheri variety - has found favour with the connoisseurs in Saudi Arabia and Dubai, its export has not been encouraging.
"Last year the export of mango had been only 8 to 9 tonnes. There is no subsidy in air freight. We have demanded 80 per cent subsidy for us to sustain," he said, adding that there is also a need for aggressive brand promotion.
Padma Shri Haji Kalimullah, known for experimenting with mango varieties and naming them after popular personalities, said the crop has been hit hard in his Maliahabad area.
"High temperature is a must for the flowers to sustain," Kalimullah said, adding that flowers have perished in rains and thunderstorm.
"As a result, the cost of the Dussheri mango is likely to go up by Rs 10-20 per kg," he said, adding that last year, good quality Dussheri sold for Rs 40 per kg, while the Safeda and Chausa were pegged at Rs 30-35 per kg.
Unseasonal rains have caused significant damage to crops in India's key agricultural regions, raising fears the country may be forced to import more food this year and may increase inflation.
Prices of vegetables are likely to jump 20-25 per cent due to crop damage, according to a joint study by Assocham-Skymet Weather.
The government bought up to 80,000 tonnes of Australian wheat in recent deals, the biggest such imports by the country in five years.
Wheat output and overall crop quality is seen taking a hit this year following heavy, untimely rain in northern and central grain-growing parts of India just before the harvest.
Traders said the top high-protein wheat producing states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have seen worst damage.
While it is too early to estimate the extent of damage to the wheat crop, winter crops in more than 10 million hectares could be hit, government officials said.
"The damage to the crops and its consequential effects would be there. It could impact on inflation. It could impact on certain (food) shortages," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told a television channel recently.
"But then since we've surplus as far as the foodgrains are concerned, we can cope ... with the issue of shortage comfortably," he said.