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Mango Growers Urge Government Support as Bumper Crop Fails to Yield Profits

Despite efforts by various stakeholders, the APEDA, the nodal agency for horticulture exports, did not respond to queries from mango growers regarding the situation.

Shivam Dwivedi
Mango Growers Urge Government Support as Bumper Crop Fails to Yield Profits (Photo Source: Pexels)
Mango Growers Urge Government Support as Bumper Crop Fails to Yield Profits (Photo Source: Pexels)

Mango farmers in the Malda district of West Bengal are facing financial difficulties as they struggle to recover the cost of production despite a bumper crop this season. The Malda Merchants Association has called upon the government to intervene and provide incentives to boost mango exports from the region to other states and overseas.

The association has highlighted the need for common testing and export facilitation centers in Malda, along with a mango processing facility to support the growers and the local economy. Malda and Murshidabad districts are renowned for their delicious summer mangoes.

Ujjal Saha, the President of the Malda Merchants Association, expressed disappointment that the government's recognition of the two districts as designated export zones for mangoes has not translated into concrete action. Over the past few years, an additional 200 hectares of land have been dedicated to mango cultivation in the region.

Saha stated that farmers are currently earning a meager Rs 10 per kilogram of mangoes at the farm level, while the cost of production amounts to around Rs 15 per kilogram. Despite exporting to neighboring states, the high production levels have resulted in an insufficient demand, leading to a price imbalance.

This season, mango production in Malda is estimated to reach around 400,000 tonnes, compared to 300,000 tonnes in the previous year. The total area under mango cultivation is approximately 31,000 hectares.

Saha explained that the overseas export demand is currently low, with only limited demand from North India. To secure a profitable price, the farmers need to export about 100 truckloads, but the daily supply only amounts to about 40 truckloads. Consequently, mango farmers in the district have not benefited from the high yield this year. Saha emphasized that the lack of government initiatives, including testing centers and crop preservation facilities, has worsened the situation.

The Malda Merchants Association has urged both the central and state governments to take immediate action to support the local mango industry and ensure fair prices for the farmers' produce.

A state horticulture department official acknowledged the lower realization compared to the previous year. However, the department's role is limited, and it lacks the capacity to address the concerns raised by the association. The official also noted that setting up additional testing centers has proven challenging due to the seasonal nature of the business.

In an effort to promote mango sales, the West Bengal government organized the Mango Utsav in Delhi, where 35 tonnes (35,000 kilograms) of mangoes were sold during the two-week-long festival that concluded on June 19. Seven mango-producing districts participated in the event. However, the mango festival scheduled to take place in Kolkata this week was canceled due to the announcement of panchayat elections in the state.

Jayanta Aikat, the director of the state horticulture department, mentioned that the state government provided a subsidy of Rs 30 per kilogram for mangoes sold at the Delhi Mango Festival to boost sales.

Earlier, APEDA had announced its plans to facilitate the export of 75 varieties of mangoes from Bengal to commemorate 75 years of Independence and celebrate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. However, the current state of mango exports from the region remains uncertain.

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