In the mango belt of south Gujarat, which is also the hub of chemical industries, the Alphonso mango has fallen prey to severe industrial pollution. For the first time in so many years, farmers of Valsad district have demanded compensation from the government for the failure of the mango crop.
In a memorandum submitted to the district collector recently, 1,686 farmers stated that besides inclement weather conditions, the biggest contributor to the crop failure was air pollution. As a result of the foul air, the mango flowers have turned black, they said.
Farmers in the mango stretch from from Chikhli in Naysari to Vapi in Valsad district have also asked the government to carry out detailed investigation to find out the causes of production losses, which they claimed was anything between 50-80%.
They also requested Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) to install air pollution monitoring system in each village.
"Flowers in top half portion of the tree turned black while in the remaining half, flowering was normal. In such cases the production falls to half. The situation has only aggravated in the last three years, and the production has fallen to three tonnes only from 22 tonnes in my orchard of 3,000 mango trees;' said Vinod Patel of Gorgam village in Valsad.