Rough estimates from the All India Strawberry Growers' Association estimated that hail and winds destroyed 60% of Mahabaleshwar's mulberry crop. The state agriculture department is still compiling data on the losses.
Nitin Bhilare, the president of the All India Strawberry Growers' Association, said recent gusty winds coupled with hailstones led to 70% fruit dropping from mulberry trees. "Mulberry is a delicate fruit. Strong winds and hail impact it adversely. April and May are one of the main seasons for mulberries in Mahabaleshwar. Hence, the impact of inclement weather has been significant," he said.
Mahabaleshwar produces approximately 10-20 tonnes of mulberry per season. The recent weather events affected 10-12 tonnes of the produce, said Bhilare.
Kailash Bhosale, treasurer, Maharashtra Grape Growers' Association, said only 20% of grapes were currently in fields in Maharashtra and the recent inclement weather affected approximately 5% of the produce. "Some effect has been seen in Sangli, Solapur, Ahmednagar and Nashik, especially in locations where the hailstorm occurred."
Strong winds also led to fruit dropping from orange trees, said Rushikesh Sontakke, an orange grower in Anjangaon Surji in Amravati. "The incidence of gusty winds has increased over the past couple of days, which has caused 40% of fruit dropping from trees," he said.