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High winds over Eid hit mango farms in six Sindh districts

Updated 06 May, 2022
Mahmood Nawaz Shah shared this image on Twitter of the fruit loss in Tando Allahyar Thursday. Photo: @mahmoodnshah
Mahmood Nawaz Shah shared this image on Twitter of the fruit loss in Tando Allahyar Thursday. Photo: @mahmoodnshah
The orange line shows measures the heat impact through humidity and temperature. It touched the 45-degree Celsius mark on Wednesday and winds travelled at more than 40km/hr. Photo: Mahmood Nawaz Shah
The orange line shows measures the heat impact through humidity and temperature. It touched the 45-degree Celsius mark on Wednesday and winds travelled at more than 40km/hr. Photo: Mahmood Nawaz Shah

High winds and the heatwave are damaging mango crops in six districts of Sindh – Mirpurkhas, Tando Allah Yar, Hyderabad, Matiari, Sanghar and Tando Muhammad Khan – which are known as the region that produces the king of fruit.

“A strong wind of 55km/h was recorded by my weather station at our farm, which is causing colossal fruit loss,” said Genuine Delight Farms owner Mahmood Nawaz Shah while speaking to Aaj News.

According to Shah, winds at the speed of 10 to 12 km/hr are suitable for mango farms. The optimum temperature limit for mango production is 40 degrees centigrade, but beyond this, the fruit starts experiencing stress.

“I was not home during the Eid holidays. But when I returned, I saw that 40kg mango sacks, worth Rs700 to Rs800, were being sold at Rs200 to Rs250,” he said, adding that the high winds were also affecting the banana orchards. “Banana leaves have been torn apart just like a paper in the high winds.”

Up to 60 acres of Shah's mango fields have been affected by the sudden changes in weather over the Eid holidays. The Met office had predicted wind and thunderstorms.

Shah explained the wind's devastation in a graph in a tweet on Thursday. The orange line showed the heat index, which measures the heat impact through humidity and temperature. It touched the 45-degree Celsius mark on Wednesday and winds travelled at more than 40km/hr.

To make matters worse, Shah said that the province's farms were facing a 70% shortage of water, which may change in the next 15 hours. The water supplies are linked to flows from the barrages and canal distribution.

The high temperatures in the heatwave suck the water from the ground leaving the crops floundering.

According to market sources, the rate of 40kgs green mango locally called karee sack, which was being sold from Rs800 to 600, declined to Rs100 at the market. All expenditures deducted from Rs100.

Critical harvest period: How is mango produced

February onwards, seeds locally called boor start appearing, which means that the mango trees start flowering. The mangos appear on the trees through March, April and May.

Traditionally, this season does not have winds (unlike this year) and the mango needs still weather, high temperatures and a calm environment to ripen.

However, this year the change in the entire system was brought about by the unexpected winds. As the temperatures went up, hot air rose (as we have learnt in our geography books). This creates a vacuum at the bottom which cold air from nearby areas comes to fill. This creates the wind.

These unexpected winds used to happen maybe once in five years in the past but have started arriving regularly now. This has alarmed experts.

The mango is a delicate fruit, from flowering to harvest. It needs a certain atmosphere to ripen. It grows from a flower when the branches are thin and becomes a weighty fruit.

The Sindhri and other types of mangoes become heavy and can weigh around 750 grams to one kilogram as they ripen. However, when these harsh winds blow the delicate mango flower boor falls.

Moreover, if the flower manages to stay on the thin branches then from mid-May to mid-June the mango starts turning yellow and shows signs of ripening. This is when farmers pluck the fruit and pack it in boxes to fully ripen in a warm covered environment.