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India - Mango farmers fear heavy crop loss

Mango production at Muthalamada in the current season is set to suffer heavily following a widespread attack by a kind of thrip locally known as Elappen. Agricultural officials said tests were being done to identify the thrips. Most pesticides being heavily experimented to manage the thrips are found to be ineffective.

The thrips are found to be sucking the flowers and drying them in large portions of the 4,000-hectare mango orchards at Muthalamada. Farmers said it was the third year that they were facing a thrip attack.

“But this year is the worst. The thrips attack is widespread like never before,” said M. Sachindran, mango farmer at Muthalamada. Some farmers admitted that pesticides were applied in several phases, yet the thrips could not be controlled. They said they approached different government authorities with their woes, and none could suggest a proper remedy.

Flowering pattern

Sujith S.S., Agricultural Officer at Muthalamada, said the thrips had spread over 80% of the farms in the area causing angst among the farmers. He said the disruption in flowering pattern owing to climate change was suspected to be a reason for the sudden increase in thrip attack. Muthalamada mangoes used to stand apart from other mangoes in the country because of its early arrival. When mangoes from other parts of the country hit the north Indian markets by March-April, Muthalamada mangoes would be ready by December-January.

Mr. Sachindran, who has 10 acres of mango orchards at Muthalamada, said most farmers were worried about a heavy crop loss.

Most of the 400-odd farmers and mango traders are anxious. Many of them have accepted advance amounts from trade agents in Delhi markets.

“I don’t know whether we will be able to deliver the mangoes for the money we received,” said a farmer who refused to identify himself. Most of the popular varieties such as Alphonsa, Sindhoor, Banganapalli, Neelam, Natsela, Rumani, Kalapadi, and Sotaperi are produced at Muthalamada. Farmers say Muthalamada mangoes have better quality than others because of the land and the climate.

Source – https://www.thehindu.com

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