Salem: “Prices of most varieties of mangoes have increased on an average by 50 to 80 per cent this year. Mango prices skyrocketed as farmers managed to harvest only 10 to 15 per cent of the usual yield,” said A Jayapal, president of Salem Mango Traders' Association.
Mango yield was low in the previous seasons too, but not so bad as this time. “Last year, the farmers harvested 25 per cent of the usual yield. However, the demand was low then due to the COVID-19 lockdown. It has been the norm for a good year of harvest to alternate with a bad year. But this pattern has gone for a spin due to changing climatic conditions as farmers made a ‘golden harvest’ only way back in 2005,” he added.
In this season, flowers failed to bear fruits due to rains that continued till January. It would be conducive for flowers to give a maximum yield of mangoes, when the climate is warm during the day and cold at night as it usually prevails from October to December.
There has also been a considerable delay in the onset of the mango season. “Normally, the mango season would have set in by mid-March, reach the peak by this time and gradually end by July. This year, the season has just begun, delayed almost by a month. Currently, only five tonnes of mangoes reach the Salem market as against 15 tonnes during this period last year,” said J Sreenivasan, a wholesale mango trader from Salem.
The poor harvest and high demand have in turn taken a toll on the exports. “Our export market has been hit completely as the mango supply is inadequate even to cater to the domestic requirement,” said Sreenivasan.