Wilfredo la Torre walks through his mango field in the Moro district and finds it hard to find any flower buds amidst the thousands of plants he has in his small estate. The crop should show an abundant yellowish-reddish bloom, but the rise in temperatures, which have gone up above 21 degrees, associated with the El Niño phenomenon has had a strong impact on the crop.
Wilfredo La Torre annually harvests 20 tons per hectare for the international market. Next year, however, he expects he'll only be able to harvest 30% of his fields.
The Service for Comprehensive Rural Development (Sedir) visited several fields to verify the drama experienced by farmers in Moro and the Nepeña Valley, where mango production is concentrated in Ancash, and confirmed that in some areas there is no flowering despite the efforts and investment made by producers to induce flowering with chemical inputs. "I've invested a lot in this crop even though the price of inputs increased. However, the plants haven't flowered and we are all very scared. We've barely achieved a 20% flowering, so we'll have great losses," stated farmer Max Comesaña.
This will negatively impact the economy of 1,000 small producers in the region who cultivate some 1,200 hectares. However, they won't be the only ones affected. "Since there is no mango, there will be no harvest, no staff can be hired, and the owners of the land will not be able to hire other management services for their plants. The situation is quite critical because the family economy of producers in the Nepeña Valley will be significantly affected," stated the executive director of SEDIR, Juan Cerna Espinoza.
The region of Ancash is the country's second-biggest mango exporter after Piura, where the impact is much greater and productivity has decreased by approximately 90%.