The state of Karnataka is set for a great mango season this year, with an expected record yield of 1.6 mln tons and potentially an increase in exports as well. Last year, the priced fruit was caught in the midst of the pandemic, with several countries scrapping imports over infection concerns. Also, the yield had shrunk to 700,000 tons due to unseasonal rains.
This time, say growers, the season is setting in at a time when the virus appears to be on the ebb and a mega vaccination drive is on, inspiring confidence in buyers at home and outside. C.G. Nagaraj, managing director of Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Limited: “The present trend shows that we will see growth both in terms of yield and exports unlike last year.”
He added that the season will start with the entry of Sendura mangoes from Ramanagara in the first week of March, and it could last till July-August: “We are in the flowering stage and the weather is good so far... hope there will not be many hail storms during summer, which is harmful to the mango crop.”
Although exports were at their lowest last year — at an estimated 1,000 tons against the normal 50,000 tons — farmers got good prices due to multiple factors, including the central government’s nod for inter-state sales which boosted demand amid short supply.
The Gulf countries, US, UK, Canada and Netherlands are among the main mango importers from Karnataka, and this time around, farmers said buyers have already started approaching them. Although there is no clarity yet about the relaxation of Covid norms, the hope is that the situation will improve by March-April and exports can touch pre-Covid levels if not exceed them.
The one worry is the increase in cargo rates. “This may have a negative impact on demand in the international market. Also, higher production may result in a price crash in the domestic market,” a mango grower from Ramanagara told timesofindia.indiatimes.com.
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