Maharashtra, one of the largest producers of mangoes in the country, has witnessed an over 50% drop in yield of the fruit since 2013-14. Growers have blamed climate change as the biggest cause for the drop in production in the state. The first production estimates for 2016-17 showed that the yield may go up marginally to 5.6 lakh tonne this fiscal, but only the upcoming production estimates will give a clearer picture.
Growers said extreme weather conditions over the last five years, coupled with above normal summers, have adversely affected the fruit in its growing stages, sometimes causing premature flowering and fruit drop and, at other times, burns and pests.
Vidyadhar Joshi, director, Devgad Taluka Mango Growers Co-operative Society Ltd, told TOI that over the last five years, growers had a few seasons when the mango trees in the fields did not flower at all. Temperatures are currently significantly above normal in Konkan.
“The erratic temperature fluctuation between two extremes — above normally hot and cold—cannot be considered as the ideal weather condition for the growth of mangoes. The current heat in February seems like that in April,” said Joshi.
A researcher from the Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dapoli, said the drop in production over the years has been due to climate change, which this year may have taken a turn for the worse, especially for Alphonsos. “The high temperature in Dapoli and reduction in the levels of humidity has already led to a significant number of fruits falling from mango trees. The erratic weather since the last few years has increased this year,” he said.