Weather takes toll on Mango cultivation in Goa

Panaji: Mango farmers in Goa are heading for a straight 65 per cent drop in production this year, which can be largely attributed to uneven weather conditions faced by the coastal state during the last two seasons.

State Agriculture department has predicted that the mango production in Goa would be just 35 per cent of what it was during the last season, considering current crop conditions.

Director of Agriculture Satish Tendulkar said that last year`s prolonged monsoons have resulted in the crop decline. "The monsoons were extended up to October-November last year due to which there was no stress on the trees," Tendulkar explaining that `stress` for the mango tree is crucial for its enhanced production, he added.

A rough estimate worked out by the department indicates that the production in 2012 would be 3,500-4,000 tonnes as compared to 9,000 tonnes in 2011. This means, Goa will have to be more dependent on mangoes exported from the other states to meet its domestic demand.

Goa has indigenous varieties of mankurad, musrad (monserratte), fernandina, hilario and others which are usually grown between coconut plantations. "Except for 25-30 farms, there is no continuous plantation of mangoes in the state," Tendulkar said.

In addition to the slash in the production, the department also expects that the mangoes will start arriving in the markets by mid-May as against its traditional appearance in April, annually. Tendulkar said the change in environment cycle has now also forced their production to be delayed.

Mangoes have been in great demand in the hospitality sector of the state besides the local consumption. The exports from neighbouring Konkan belt helps the state to tide over the demand and control the escalating prices of the yellow fruit.