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Rains will make mangoes dearer

Mar 11, 2006 10:28 AM IST India India

Mumbai/New Delhi: Mumbai, Delhi and parts of Haryana were in for a pleasant surprise on Friday, as unseasonal rains accompanied with a cool breeze brought a respite from what seemed like an early summer.

The Met Department says western disturbances are responsible for a sudden change in the weather conditions, and parts of north India including Delhi, Haryana and Punjab are likely to be affected.

And while the western disturbances has left north India is relieved, central and western India is reeling under trouble.

The unseasonal rains have have wreaked havoc on the normal life in Madhya Pradesh. Rains and lightning have killed 43 people and injured over a hundred in the state.

Untimely rains have also made farmers in western India a desperate lot.

Grape and mango cultivators are facing losses as their harvest has been affected by the showers.

Just a few days ago, farmers in Gujarat were expecting a good mango harvest this year.

But the untimely monsoon sent their hopes crashing. They fear that hailstorms and moisture in the air will also raise the risk of insect infestation.
"This time, the rains and the strong winds have badly affected our crop," says a mango farmer.

In Maharashtra, grape farmers in Nasik and Sangli are also unhappy. They are afraid of a bad harvest, one that may be affected by disease.

Navi Mumbai's fruit traders are also a worried lot as their business earnings have dropped by 20 per cent. This has seen a plunge in their fresh supplies and also a considerable drop in the customers figures.

"What used to sell for Rs 30 rupees, now sells for Rs 20. Because of the day's non-stop rains, the number of customers fell by 50 percent,” a fruit vendor of Navi Mumbai said.

Production of both mangoes and grapes is expected to fall by 30 per cent this season. The problem is worse as the rains have struck between March 1 and April 30 - the time when grapes are best cultivated and exported.

But while one can already expect mangoes to be more expensive this year, the cost of grapes, along with their demand, has already come down.