Surat: Farmers of the famous Valsadi Afoos (Alphonso) and Kesar varieties in Valsad and nearby districts including the union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli (DNH) have urged the Central Government to cover the ‘mango crop’ under the Weather Based insurance Scheme (WBIS) to protect them from huge losses during the natural calamities in the region.
The Valsad and Navsari districts in South Gujarat are famous as the mango bowl in the country with the huge production of Alphonso and Kesar mangoes during the mango season. However, the mango farmers are facing a miserable situation due to the untimely rain patterns and bad weather conditions prevailing for the last seven years.
This area produces almost 20% of the total mango crop production of the king of fruits. The Alphonso cultivated in the Valsad district is famous across the country and that it is exported to different parts of the world including the United Kingdom (UK), United Arab Emirates (UAE), United States of America (USA), etc.
Member of Parliament (MP) from Valsad, Dr. KC Patel has written a letter to the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, highlighting the plight of the mango farmers in Valsad and Navsari districts and the union territory of DNH.
Dr. Patel stated that the farmers are facing huge financial losses due to the bad weather conditions and natural calamities and that they have demanded compensation for the same.
In 2016, the Government of India paid Rs 12 crore as compensation to the farmers in Valsad. This time around, the Tauktae cyclone damaged almost 80% of the mango crop in the region. This resulted in the buyers and traders shying away from purchasing the mangoes from Valsad and Navsari.
A juice company, Food&IN purchased the unripe mangoes for preparing juice, which saved farmers to some extent.
According to Dr. Patel, the mango crop should be covered under the WBIS. A Mango Board shall be constituted with its headquarter in the Valsad district, which will provide overall information and opportunities to the mango farmers to minimize their losses and grow their earnings.
The mango farmers in the South Gujarat region have demanded that the Valsad-Navsari districts should be declared as ‘Agro-Export Zone’ under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).