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4Horticulture / Mango

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Mango crop outlook              
By Mohammad Hussain Khan

THE 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 says.
 

 

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 says.

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 of 30-50ft.

“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,” he says.

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

   
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