Mango growers and traders say they have always faced a harvest drop whenever there were fewer blooms on the trees in the past, so they fear a loss this year, despite the DAE's affirmations
Farmers of Chapainawabganj district in Rajshahi are anticipating a huge loss in the mango harvest this year and blame the prolonged winter for that.
There are relatively fewer mango trees in bloom this year compared to previous years in the district. Farmers also feel the newly bloomed buds won't bring production up to their expectation as they have been affected by heavy fog, untimely rain, and pest attacks.
However, officials from the local Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) office disagreed with mango growers and said the climate or the lesser buds would not affect the overall yield.
They said the buds are late because of a prolonged winter and that the problem will be resolved in a week or so.
Mango growers and traders say they have always faced a harvest drop whenever there were fewer blooms on the trees in the past, so they fear a loss this year, despite the DAE's affirmations.
On a field visit, most of the small trees were seen with more blooming buds than the older ones, and the orchards which get direct sunlight and air seem to have a better quality of buds. In the same orchards, many of the trees were in perfect bloom, but some of them had no flowers at all.
Al Amin, a mango grower of Shibganj upazila's Kalupur, who was spraying pesticide on his trees said: "The blooms are less than half that compared to last year, and even those are getting attacked by pests and falling off."
Acknowledging the problems, Tasikul Islam, Ahsan Habib Shamsul Alam, and other farmers, said the prolonged winter greatly affected the natural timing of the fruit and the blooming season has passed already.
He said: "In the blooming season, appropriate sunlight and warm weather is a must. But since the climate was hostile this winter the mango yield will be much less."
Md Nazrul Islam, DAE's district training officer, says the harvest will not be much affected by the climate even though the prolonged winter in the district has delayed the development of the mango buds.
“But the number of buds on the trees will increase with the rising temperature in the next few weeks,” he added.
Differing to the DAE's official's comments, Dr Md Nazrul Islam, principal scientific officer of Regional Horticultural Research Centre's (RHRC) said even though the possibility of new blooming buds is little, if the existing buds can be saved from insects and pests, the harvest can still be profitable.
Chapainawabganj DAE's Deputy Director Monjurul Huda said: "Due to the unseasonable cold, the blooms are half that of last year. We are expecting a 50 to 55 % yield this year compared to a 100% last year."
According to the DAE's office, in Rajshahi's Chapainawabganj district the target for production is 239,000 tons on 33,000 hectares of land which was 275,000 tons on 30,810 hectares last year.