Mango death syndrome | By Khurshid Ali Shaikh


Mango death syndrome

MANGO tops the list of fruits grown in Pakistan. Pakistan is the 5th in mango production and third largest exporter of mango in the world.

Climate conditions make it possible to produce good quality fresh mangoes in a period of about 5 to 6 months.

This season, the scent will not be scattered in the air in the way it smelled last year. They may not be seen in the markets and on the streets, the desire to see mangoes more yellow will remain in the heart.

You keep thirsting for fragrant and sweetness of Sindhri mango which the world recognizes as the king of fruits.

In Sindh, a rapidly spreading disease called Mango Death Syndrome is currently posing a serious threat to the crop. This syndrome is the deadliest of all diseases, including the sudden death of the mango tree.

This disease causes the leaves and flowers to suddenly turn brown, wither and fall to the ground.

The twigs of the plant turn black.
A local mango farmer in Sindh from Mirpur Khas division said, “We have to cut the infected twigs to save the affected tree.

This is the first time that my garden spread over 60 acres has been so badly affected”. Landlords call the sudden death of twigs a “strange” event and some call it climate change.

Unfortunately, when the owner of the garden realizes that there was no cure no solution of the disease, he began to feel helpless.

Agricultural experts call sudden death a strange disease, appears suddenly and neither any spray nor pesticide available in the market to rid the trees of this disease. Affected farmers lamented that they have no choice but to cut infected twigs and branches.

It is important to point out that farmers must be vigil as mango death syndrome can easily spread from one farm or orchard to another. The syndrome has affected 20 to 30 percent of mango orchards in Sindh.

Mirpur Khas, Sanjhoro, Tando Jam, TandoAllahyar, Matiari and Hyderabad are among the major mango growing areas in Lower Sindh. The deadly disease has spread panic among farmers.

In Sindh, only Sindhri mangoes are mostly grown and exported to the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iran.

Affected farmers condemn the indifference of the concerned authorities on the issue and say that more than 25% of the mango orchard crop has been damaged.

According to him, farmers in Sindh face a similar situation every year, but this year the problem has become more serious.

He lamented that Sindh government’s Department of Agricultural Research did not even bother to do research and find a cure.

According to farmers, the rise in temperature during February this year also led to an increase in the disease as the temperature in February was 35 degrees Celsius because February saw temperatures rise to 35 to 40 degrees Celsius.

This is the reason why the hot weather has badly affected the mango blossoms which is called “bore” in Sindhi and another major reason may be water scarcity. If the situation continues like this, mango production in Sindh will come down.

Diseases in mango orchards are not a new phenomenon, but the damage has been substantial this year.

Farmers say they have spoken to officials from the agriculture department, who say there are a variety of diseases affecting mango orchards.

Research on various diseases is underway and he hopes that a solution will be found soon.

Explaining the types of diseases, the authorities say that the mango death syndrome consists of various rotten diseases such as dieback, immediate dieback and sudden death.

According to official figures, Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of mangoes in the world.

An official of the Sindh Resettlement Board said that Sindh is the second largest producer of mangoes in Pakistan, Punjab said.

I produce the most mangoes. According to statistics, the total production of mangoes in Pakistan is 1.6 million to 18 tons per annum and out of this production, 600,000 to 700,000 tons or about 40% share belongs to Sindh.

Mango, among other properties, is fruit rich in fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, low in calories, low in protein and rich in vitamins that we enjoy.

It is rich in vitamins A, B and C which also contain other antioxidant vitamins. It is one of the sweetest fruits in the world. That is why it is called the king of fruits.

Pakistan has the special grace of Allah Almighty and there are four seasons here and being a land blessed by Allah, Pakistani mango dominates the world in terms of taste and demand.

—The writer is former Director Information, Government of Sindh, based in Islamabad.

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