Mango crop outlook
By Mohammad Hussain Khan
weather condition does not seem favourable for mango
production in Sindh this season as reports indicate that
proper fruit flowering and setting has not taken place yet.
However opinion is divided among orchard owners on the size
of the crop.
According to horticulturist, Mohammad Rafiq of Sindh
Horticulture Research Institute (SHRI), Mirpurkhas, mango is
grown on 146,965 acres in the province and last year’s
production stood at 378,977 tons.
He expects ten per cent increase in crop production this
year after having visited quite a few mango growing areas
despite negative implications of climate change.
A noted mango grower Nadeem Shah argues that disease has hit
trees after abnormal climatic conditions and prolonged
winter. “Weather patterns remained erratic. After a lengthy
winter the tree didn’t enjoy full bloom of spring either,”
contends Shah, who owns 110 acres of mango orchard in
Matiari and Mirpurkhas districts.
Trees are being cut by some growers in a bid to use their
lands for other cash crops to earn more money as they don’t
consider mango a profitable crop any more. But the sudden
death syndrome that affected trees sometime ago has been
controlled now. Growers blame authorities for not guiding
and helping them in fighting this disease properly.
According to Abdul Majeed Nizamani, a mango grower from
Badin, a prolonged winter and sudden rise in temperature in
March has affected flowering and fruit setting in mango
trees. Flower setting requires temperature of 25-32 degrees
centigrade which was unusually high in March. “The fruit
should have been larger in size by now, but it has not
developed as yet as it didn’t get the proper spring,” he
Growers like Zahid Shah from Nawabshah and Azizullah Memon
from Tando Allahyar blame the unusual weather conditions for
badly affecting the crop. “Although I got more money this
season from my contractor as he signed it before having a
proper look at the crop, but I honestly believe production
will drop at my 35-acres farm,” he says.
But Imdad Nizamani, a Global GAP (good agricultural
practices) certified grower from Tando Allahyar differs with
those predicting significant drop in crop. “There won’t be a
big difference in production. Lengthy spell of winter always
favours fruit,” he pleads. He says barring few cases in
upper Sindh, no major viral attack has hit the crop in lower
Sindh, famous for mango production.
“The area did reduce as growers kept felling trees for
multiple reasons,” he says. Sindh Chamber of Agriculture’s
Anwar Bachani seconds his view saying weather patterns do
have such impacts every season but it is not going to make a
big difference on the crop this year.
Another Global GAP certified grower Zain Shah argues that
mango growers must get around 10 maunds of fruit out of one
tree whereas currently they are getting only three to four
maunds for different reasons. “I don’t think that production
will be excellent, but still it will be better than last
year’s. A normal spring is essential for better crop,” he
Sindh’s growers are not quickly adopting modern farm
practices that require reduction in space between two trees
from 40ft to 15ft or 20ft to control height of each tree.
Height of each tree is to be restricted to 15-20ft instead
“This is called high density mango farming as it yields
better per acre output. Under this practice, growers can
grow many more trees on an acre against the current practice
of 25-30 trees per acre”, argues SHRI’s horticulturist.
Mango growers blame government’s concerned departments for
not coming up with proper campaign to save mango orchards.
Zahid Shah says flowering needs moderate weather conditions
and it is only the stage of ripening when fruit needs high
temperature. “Germination has been affected this year and
the size of fruit is not that big as it should have been,”
Amidst declining profitability mango orchard owners are
shifting to other crops. Chopping of mango trees is taking
place regularly. Not many growers are re-planting mango
trees that would take at least a decade or more for orchard
to start giving fruit.
Courtesy: The DAWN