Mangoes expensive in 2011? Wait for 2012

The forecast of monsoon continuing well into October could delay the first mango harvest, causing prices to hit the roof 

The Indian Meteorological Department's (IMD) forecast of the monsoon extending up to mid-October this year may affect the mango harvest early next year. 

Pic/ AFP photo

Ajay Kumar, IMD meteorologist said, "The monsoon has just started withdrawing from the Punjab-Haryana belt. But, it will remain active in Maharashtra till mid-October."

Sometime in October, the mango growers in state's Konkan region start preparing for the first harvest of mangoes, which hit the markets in February. The extended monsoon, however, is likely to spoil the first produce and delay the arrival of the fruit in the markets. 

 "The mango trees start flowering in September end and the yield is ready for the markets in about four months. The light drizzle that has been forecast can spoil the flowering in which case the trees will take two to three additional months to flower again," said Ismail Mukadam, a mango grower from Ratnagiri.

In addition to the delay in the arrival of mangoes in the market, Mukadam also expects Anthracnose disease to attack mango trees (caused due to little drizzles). "Anthracnose disease would mean harvest of low quality mangoes," he added.

The delay in mangoes hitting the market could in turn result in a hike in prices next season. Vijay Dhoble, wholesale mango trader and member of Agriculture Produce Market Committee said, "It will be premature to say that cost of mangoes will be too high next year. However, if mango season gets delayed due to drizzles in October, rates in the next year can be higher."   

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