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UP mango farmers feel the heat of global warming

Vishnu Pandey  |  Kanpur 

Rising global temperaures have quashed the hopes of thousands of farmers in Uttar Pradesh. While the trees have blossomed prematurely due to the climatic changes arising from high temperatures, farmers are now worried about the huge losses of the crop, which may occur if there is a subsequent dip in temperature.

Fruits and Vegetable Merchant Association (FVMA) member Naveen Chawla told Business Standard that at least Rs 250 crore invested by mango future contract traders were at the risk of being lost due to premature blooming. The flowers stand high chances of shedding if the temperature even dips by a few points.

“The fruit will ripen around 45 days earlier than the normal cycle and we will be forced to sell the harvest at throwaway prices to avoid rotting,” he added.

A similar situation had occurred in 2003 and 2005, when the flowers were shed due to temperature dip later in the month of March.

Mango is largely grown in the Malihabad area near Lucknow and the state is one of the leading producers of the fruit. Last year, the mango plantations had suffered losses due to severe fog. This year too, the lingering danger has put them in despair.

Experts believe that high temperature may have had an impact on the plants. Agriculture scientist at the Chandra Shekhar Agricultural University (CSA), Professor R P Katiyar said that the absence of rain and fog also led to the faster blooming.

“Normally when it rains in winter, the temperature tends to fall further and that combined with fog, affects the blossoming time of flowering plants. This time, since there was no rain and little fog, plants responded well to the temperature and have started blooming much earlier,” he said.

The plants take 60-70 days to flower since the time the seeds are sown. Since the temperatures remained favourable, the flowering occurred earlier than usual this year.

The region normally takes on the spring in the beginning of February and the winter flowers last till end of March.

“This year, with temperatures well above normal, flowering activity was noticed in the middle of January and should last till the middle of March,” explained Katiyar.

First Published: Mon, March 02 2009. 00:37 IST