Agriculture and Farming Technology Updates

Climate change affects mango production in India

India is the world's largest producer of mangoes, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of the world's crop


No fruit in India is as universally loved and anticipated as the mango, which, for a short period each year, cools and sweetens the long summer days. Mangoes are added to kebabs, used in tart dishes, and pureed with mint to make refreshing drinks. Connoisseurs vehemently argue over which of the dozens of Indian varieties—each with a distinct flavour, colour, and texture—is the best and politely disagree over the proper way to eat the fruit: slicing or sucking the juice straight up. from the top.

But this year, this centuries-old ritual is in jeopardy. Scorching heat that has hit northern India weeks earlier than usual has wiped out mango crops, threatening a way of life for the thousands of small farmers who grow the fruit and the millions of people who eat it.

ANCP funding to mango production, Source: Flickr
Mango production in India, Source: Flickr

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Climate change affects mango

The heat wave is a stark example of the challenge India faces in ensuring its food security as the effects of climate change worsen, worsening its difficulties in bringing agricultural productivity up to international levels in order to feed a growing population of nearly 1.4 billion people.

The dangers of a hotter future are painfully visible on a small farm in Malihabad, one of the main mango-growing districts in the north, where Mohammed Aslam tends some 500 trees.

A few months ago, her mango trees were the picture of health, their deep green leaves glistening on the well-moisturized soil and their branches bearing perfect clusters of white blossoms. India then experienced its hottest March in 122 years on record, with temperatures averaging almost 33 degrees Celsius and reaching 40 degrees. The mango blossoms withered and died before bearing fruit.

Virtually none of Aslam’s trees, spread over 1.6 hectares, produced mangoes. In a normal year, they would have yielded more than 11 tons of fruit.

“I have never seen this phenomenon in my life,” he said one recent afternoon as he looked out over his farm in Uttar Pradesh state, lamenting the thousands of dollars he was about to lose to a bad harvest.

Aslam is one of the hundreds of farmers who have watched helplessly as the intense heat of March stretched into the hottest April in 50 years and stretched into May. In a report published Monday, climatologists said the chances of such a heat wave in India have increased at least 30-fold since the 19th century.

The heat has far exceeded the optimal temperature for fertilizing mango trees, which is around 25 degrees Celsius, said Dheeraj Kumar Tiwari, a scientist at an agricultural university in Uttar Pradesh.

Musarat Mangoes ready to harvest | Mango | Joegoauk Goa | Flickr
Mango production in India. Joegoauk Goa Source: Flickr

World’s largest producer of mangoes

India is the world’s largest producer of mangoes, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of the world’s crop. Much of it is eaten domestically, but it also exports tens of millions of dollars worth of mangoes each year to the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States. In the last decade, India has tried to enter the markets of other countries of the European Union.

In the past, export growth has been constrained by the rising cost of Indian mangoes compared to those from countries such as Brazil, Peru, Israel and Pakistan. India has been striving to increase productivity, which would reduce costs.

Even before the extreme heat, India’s mango exports had been hit hard by supply chain disruptions during the pandemic, with overseas shipments down nearly 50 per cent last year. India’s main export organization expected a big change this year as the Indian and US governments had eased terms of trade.

According to the authorities, this figure has remained constant despite the fact that more hectares of mango have been planted. The authorities report that there has been a drop in productivity per hectare of around 40% in the last five years.
States like Andhra Pradesh, UP, Maharashtra, Karnataka and even Bihar produce far more mangoes than Gujarat.  The authorities indicate that out of the 1,003,000 tons cultivated, 484,000 tons are from Alphonso, only from Valsad and Navsari districts. The entire crop of Kesar has not even reached 200,000 tons.

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