Bihar farmers worried over likely poor litchi, mango crop this year

It is generally said that litchis and mangoes bloom in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district amid the breeze during the Phagun season, but even after Basant Panchami this year, the litchi and mango trees did not fully bloom. Scientists are linking this to rains and moisture remaining in the earth for a long time.

Fruit growers in Muzaffarpur say that blooming of mangoes and litchis usually happens after Saraswati Puja, but this year it has not happened.

Bhola Prasad Singh, Chief of Muzaffarpur Fruit Growers Association, says that only 50 percent of the blossoming of litchi trees is visible this year. Some farmers are using chemical drugs for the blossoming of litchis due to which they are hopeful that the fruit would bloom.

The fruit producers say, “The situation is worse in the areas where the flood water has been around for a long time, the blossoming of fruits is quite less visible in these areas.”

Meanwhile, a litchi farmer of Minapur, Akhilesh Singh, still hopes that blossoming of fruits would take place. Due to the sunny conditions for the last two to three days, an increase in the temperature has been recorded which has raised the farmers’ expectations.

Muzaffarpur is a large producer of litchis. The succulent and sweet litchis from here are not only famous in the country but abroad as well.

S.D. Pandey, senior scientist at the National Litchi Research Centre, Muzaffarpur, says that last year the rainfall was prolonged, due to which moisture remained near the roots of the litchi trees. The same situation arose in the flood-affected areas as the moisture in the earth there remained for a long time. He said that moisture is the main reason for the fruits not blossoming fully.

He said that there is still a week’s time for more fruits to bloom.

Problems have increased for the traders who have already bought the fruit gardens. There are many traders who buy the fruit gardens even before the fruits are seen blossoming.

Bihar produces 70 per cent of the total litchis in the country. Muzaffarpur topped the country for litchi production. In Bihar, litchi is cultivated on a total of 32,000 hectares. Muzaffarpur alone has litchi orchards spread across 11,000 hectares.

Apart from Muzaffarpur, litchi is also produced in Vaishali, Sitamarhi, East Champaran, West Champaran, Katihar and Samastipur districts.