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Mangoes refuse to fruit up

Villagers claim to have come across powder-like insects that destroyed all flowers on the mango tree

Crop: It is difficult to find an expression for a circumstance such as being surrounded with mango trees with none bearing fruit.

Expressionless, that was exactly how 45-year-old Ugyen Pelmo and her husband Jambay Gyeltshen from Horong in Mongar appeared when the 140 mango trees they were surrounded by refused to bear fruit.

Jambay Gyeltshen remembers taking two truckloads of mangoes for the first time to Thimphu last year, all of which he sold with ease and earned more than Nu 240,000.

This year, however, the same trees failed to bear mangoes even for self-consumption.

Jambay Gyeltshen believes that during the flowering time this year, he had noticed powder-like insects that infested his trees that wiped out all flowers on the trees.

From the proceeds of the sale in Thimphu last year, Jambay Gyeltshen said he bought more than two acres of dry land in his village.

“The fruit having failed this year, I have only to care for my cattle, some of which I bought with the money I earned from sale of mangoes last year,” he said.

He also said that last year, the farmers were assisted by their dzongkhag agricultural extension officers to ensure no such problems arose.

Jambay Gyeltshen said he and his neighbours did not inform gewog officials on this matter and even to the gewog agriculture extension office.

“We tried spraying some chemicals we had used before, but that too were of no help,” he said, adding this year on, he was going to devote more attention to making beds, putting manure and watering the trees.

“Mangoes fetch good price,” he said.

From Nu 40,000 to Nu 70,000 a few years ago, last year he said he earned Nu 240,000 from the sale of the fruit.

He said his mango trees easily bore him two truckloads for sale in Thimphu and spared almost half a truck to be sold in Mongar and for self-consumption.

Meanwhile, gewog agriculture extension officer Sonam Dolkar said she used to move around the village to monitor prevalence of such issues and problems among villagers.

The owner, she said had not informed her regarding the case and said it was a dieback disease that rendered the trees fruitless, which of course, she added could be control through use of chemicals.

She also said that so far villagers had done no pruning and given no proper maintenance and care to the orchards.

By Dechen Tshering, Mongar

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