Unseasonal rains and hailstorms in pockets of mango-growing regions of Gujarat may mar the fruit crop for the current summer season, the Gujarat government said on Wednesday.

As many as 24 out of the 33 districts in Gujarat witnessed unseasonal rains of at least 10 mm or more during March 2023, accompanied by hailstorms too.

“Among the horticulture crops, mango trees were at the flowering or fruit formation stage. The unseasonal rains and the heavy winds caused the fruit dropping, potentially causing damage to the crop,” the State government informed in a statement at the State Assembly on Wednesday.

In FY22, Gujarat had recorded total of 1.66 lakh hectares of mango cultivation with 9.2 lakh tonnes of production, the State horticulture director’s data showed.

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State Agriculture Minister Raghavji Patel informed that a survey was conducted to assess the extent of damage to the crops due to unseasonal rains. The State will consider providing relief assistance in cases of damage to the crop as per the regulations of the State Disaster Relief Fund.

Impact on Kesar mangoes

Gujarat has a large cultivation of Kesar mango across Kutch and Saurashtra regions, covering Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Porbandar, and Amreli districts.

Speaking to businessline, Rameshchandra Daand, Secretary of Talala APMC, one of the largest Kesar mango markets in Gujarat, expressed concerns on the potential impact on the crop due to unseasonal rains.

“The season was good so far. But the unseasonal rains and hailstorms in certain parts of Saurashtra have caused damage to the fruit. The fruits were small, and they were at the development stage. The hails caused the premature droppings,” said Daand.

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He, however, mentioned that the kesar mango arrivals usually take place by April-end. “The mango arrivals will begin by April 25. But looking at the favourable climate during January-February, we expected a better crop than last year. But the unseasonal rains have disturbed all the calculations,” he said adding that the yield would be lower.

Last year, Talala APMC had received mango arrivals of around 5.33 lakh boxes (10 kg each). The crop size is still uncertain due to climatic impact.

Impact on prices

The market players estimate prices to be higher due to damage to the crop.

The export inquiries have started flowing in from the Gulf and European region. “At present, the good quality crop is quoting at ₹1,000 per box of 10 kg. But this is early to comment on the price trend as the real scenario will emerge after April 20 when the arrivals peak and the impact of unseasonal rains will be visible,” said an exporter from Una district in Gir-Somnath district.