Mango yield more likely to cut back by 60% in Dharwad, Belagavi

DHARWAD: The dream of the mango growers in  and Belagavi districts of getting a good yield this season has begun to shatter due to untimely rain that lashed the region last week.
The two districts are known for growing Alphonso (Aapus) mango and cater to nearly 50% of the demand in state.

Even as growers were expecting a quality yield, rain played a spoilsport. Another major concern bothering growers is the Harper’s disease attacking the crop. The disease damages mango fruit before ripening.

The Harper’s disease is characterised by mango malformation. Affected seedlings have very short internodes. They are swollen and their growth is abnormal.

In floral malformation, flower buds are transformed into vegetative buds and a large number of small leaves and stems, which are characterized by appreciably reduced internodes and give an appearance of witch’s broom. The flower buds seldom open and remain dull green. The disease is mainly spread via infected plant material.

The mango bud mite, Aceria mangiferae, has been associated with mango malformation disease as wounds from the mites feeding activity are thought to facilitate fungal infection.

Mango growers in Dharwad and Belagavi districts, who struggled against all odds to get some yield are disheartened. They are now knocking on the doors of the to protect their yield against the Harper’s disease.

Along with this, untimely rain is also causing huge loss to farmers. Heavy rain companied by gusty wind is resulting in mango fall.

Mangoes grown in the region find a market not only in Karnataka but also in neighboring Goa, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and . But experts say that untimely rain and Harper’s disease will reduce the yield by 60% this season.

Joint director of agriculture T Rudresh told TOI that Dharwad is the largest district in the state growing Alphonso quality mango. Mango is grown on nearly 25,000 acres of land here. If there is a conducive climate, the district can get a yield of 7,590 metric tonnes. Belagavi is the second largest mango growing district. Like last year, this time too untimely rain has rubbed salt on the wounds of mango growers and the Harper’s disease has compounded the problem, Rudresh added.

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