Pre-monsoon showers, along with the advanced onset of the monsoon in Gujarat, have forced mango farmers to call off the season early this year even as production and sales take a hit. With a late start and an early end, the mango season in Gujarat was shortened by almost a month.
Firstly, mango production, be it the popular kesar variety in regions like Talala in Saurashtra and Kutch or alphonso, dasehri and langda in the southern part of the state like Valsad and Navsari took a hit due to unpleasant weather. According to farmers and traders alike, while mango flowering was as good as last year or any normal year, a delay in onset of summer season deprived the crop of the right temperatures, leading to delayed ripening.
"While flowering was good, ripening of mangoes got delayed and even suffered damage due to the change in temperature. This led to not only a fall in production but also delays in mango arrivals to markets," said Narendra Radadiya, one of the leading mango farmers from Talala, especially of the kesar variety. Hence, instead of the usual last week of April, the mango season began a fortnight later in the third week of May.
However, now with the early rains and advanced onset of monsoon, the delayed standing crops, which were just ripening, got destroyed, forcing several farmers to call off the season early. As against mid-June when the mango season is largely over, Gujarat saw early rains induced by the cyclone Nisarg from June 2 onwards.
"This led to several crops getting spoilt forcing farmers to call the season off. Unlike in a normal year, the season ended at least 10 days early. With a late start and early end, the entire mango season in Gujarat has been shortened by almost a month," said Ramnikbhai Savaliya, a leading mango trader from Talala.
It has also led to an overall production impact of 30-35 per cent say farmers and traders. As against an estimated 1-1.2 million boxes (of 10 kg each) arriving in one of the markets in Talala, the same was down to 700,000 boxes this year.