Friday, 8 May 2009

Global warming hits mango production, taste

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: For the first time the "king of fruits" has lost its sheen, both in terms of colour and taste and overall output. Mango production is expected to be down by about 20 per cent over last year's yield across the country.

Though there's no full-fledged scientific study as yet, environmentalists and those in mango production blame global warming for mango woes. Like many fruits, mango is a seasonal crop, which in other words means dependent on optimum temperatures for yield. Any major change in the optimum temperature, which in the case of mango is between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius, will affect flowering (inflorescence)
and thus the total production.

According to Insram Ali, president of All-India Mango Growers' Association, global
warming has affected mango production this time. "The inflorescence was hit by increase in temperature during the flowering period in November-December. This explains a considerable fall in the overall production this season," he said. The temperature has also affected the texture, sugar content and taste of the fruit
in many parts of the country, including Andhra Pradesh.

AP has the highest per acreage mango production in India, though Uttar Pradesh leads the country in terms of total acreage under mango cultivation. In Krishna district, the epicentre of mango crop in Andhra Pradesh, production is expected at 5000 tons this season, as against 6,000 tons last season.

B Suhasini, deputy director of horticulture, Vijayawada, said though good quality mangoes are expected this season due to no pests and untimely rains, there will be a fall in the overall production by 20 per cent. Agrees senior entomologist Dr NBV Chalapathi Rao of Mango Research Centre, Nuzvid. He said the fall was due to
global warming and sudden change or fluctuation in temperatures.

Though global warming is blamed for fall in production, principal scientist Dr Y
Satyanarayana Reddy of Fruit Research Centre, Sangareddy, finds fault with growers and traders for lack of sweetness in the fruit. "It takes between 116 to 120 days for the mango fruit to ripe. The best and tasty fruit is expected only in the
fourth week of April or the first week of May. The fruit should have nine per cent sugar content to tastegood," he said.

The total acreage under mango in the State is 2.76 lakhs hectares with an annual
production of 3.25 lakhs tonnes.

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