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Heatwave killing green mangoes, dashing hopes for bumper harvest

Published : Tuesday, 23 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 104

Heatwave killing green mangoes, dashing hopes for bumper harvest

Heatwave killing green mangoes, dashing hopes for bumper harvest

RAJSHAHI, Apr 22: Mangoes are one of the few reasons that make the sweltering heat bearable for some, but the life-threatening temperatures this season have spelled bad news for the lovers of the summer delight.

In the orchards of Rajshahi, a district renowned for producing some of the tastiest mango varieties, trees have lost at least 20 percent of their fruits during the setting stage due to the excessive heat. This has left farmers anxious about the upcoming harvest.

Officials from the Rajshahi Fruit Research Station have noted that the fruit will continue to fall if the heatwave persists. They are advising farmers to implement frequent irrigation to help sustain the trees during this challenging period.

The Rajshahi region has been engulfed in a severe heatwave since the onset of summer a week ago, with temperatures soaring alarmingly. This past Sunday, the district recorded a high of 41.5 degrees Celsius, nearing the threshold for a very severe heatwave, which is classified as temperatures above 42 degrees Celsius.

As the heatwave was scorching 51 out of 64 districts in Bangladesh, at least five people have died from suspected heatstroke in two days.
In response, the Rajshahi district administration has issued a seven-day heat alert and is using loudspeakers to raise awareness about the risks of such high temperatures.

The relentless heat will likely rise further and persist for several more days in the district, warned Shahidul Islam, chief of Bangladesh Meteorological Departments Rajshahi office.

Shariful Islam, a mango-grower in the Kharkhari Bypass area, said: "The peduncles are drying up and the mangoes are getting yellowish before falling. The buds grew well early, but dense fog and mild rains damaged them. Now itll be difficult to grow mangoes from the set stage in this heat."

Entaz Ali, another farmer of Kashiadangi, said rain is very much needed for mangoes to grow now, but a heatwave in place of rains will not let the mangoes grow well. "Production will also fall and so, prices will be high from the beginning of harvest."

Shafiqul Islam, chief scientific officer at Rajshahi Fruit Research Station, said irrigation is required to save the mangoes at the set phase.

If a farmer cannot irrigate the orchard, they must spray water on the green mangoes every morning and evening, according to him.

"At least 20 percent of the green mangoes that are setting now have fallen in a setback for efforts to achieve the production target," he said.

The farmers of Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Naogaon and Natore have cultivated mango in 93,266 hectares of land this season, Shafiqul said. The target is to produce 1.2 million tonnes of mango. Mango production in this region crossed 1.2 million tonnes last year.

Umme Salma, an assistant director at the Rajshahi unit of the Department of Agricultural Extension, said officials were ordered to help farmers save the green mangoes amid the heatwave with necessary advice.     —bdnews24.com

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