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“Extreme Heat to Reduce Fruit, Vegetable & Flower Production By 30%,” says IIHR Director

High temperatures reduce yields in major food crops, which is a major concern for agricultural productivity. Because of rising temperatures and crop decay, the country's fruit and vegetable production is expected to fall by up to 30% this season.

Shivam Dwivedi
The unexpected early arrival of summer has resulted in massive flower and fruit drop in Mango plant
The unexpected early arrival of summer has resulted in massive flower and fruit drop in Mango plant

According to mango farmers in the country, the unexpected early arrival of summer has resulted in a massive flower and fruit drop. Experts predict that the shift in climatic patterns will have a significant impact on the production of fruits such as watermelons, bananas, lychee, citrus, and cashew crops.

According to the experts, vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, leafy vegetables, and tomatoes will have lower nutritional content and be smaller in size.

"We estimate that different fruit and vegetable crops in different regions will lose 10% to 30% due to the sudden increase in temperatures," SK Singh, director of the Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR) in Bengaluru, told media.

"Mangoes, lychee, citrus crops like kinnow and oranges, bananas, and avocados are immediately affected," he added. Meanwhile, farmers in Maharashtra claim that production of high-value Alphonso mangoes will be reduced by 40%.

High temperatures and humidity are being blamed for an increase in pest and fungus infestation. Temperatures typically begin to rise around the time of the Holi festival. But this time, temperatures rose almost immediately after the winter.

According to reports, last month was the hottest February ever recorded in the country, with an average maximum temperature of 29.5 degrees Celsius. "The minimum night temperature is higher than usual, and the difference between day and night temperature has narrowed, resulting in fewer opportunities for crops to recover from heat stress (from high day temperature) at night," as per Praveen Pankajakshan, head of AI Lab at Cropin, an agricultural intelligence startup.

"Farmers may bring their produce to market earlier than expected, resulting in excess at times and scarcity during harvesting," he added. Worryingly, the IMD has predicted an ‘enhanced probability of occurrence of a heat wave’ in central and northwest India between March and May.

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