KANGAR: The extremely hot weather is giving some 400 Harumanis mango farmers in Chuping a headache as the scorching heat is threatening the pollinating process of the fruits.
Last Friday, the temperature in Chuping reached about 37°C, making the area the hottest place in the country, and this has also resulted in the flowers dropping prematurely from the trees.
Perlis Agriculture Department crop development agent Mohd Shafarin Puteh said it had rained only twice since January.
“It is true that Harumanis mangoes require hot weather to grow well, but this year’s weather is extremely hot.
“The ideal temperature for the mangoes to pollinate and produce fruits is between 31ºC and 32ºC but now our daily afternoon temperature is 36°C,” he said after a meeting with farmers to address the concern in Kampung Panggas Besar here.
Mohd Shafarin said some 35,000 Harumanis trees would be at risk unless it rains soon.
“We have about 300ha of Harumanis farms, with an average of 123 trees per hectare.
“Last year, we produced about 750 tonnes of the fruit but with the present weather, I think there would be a drop,” he said.
Farm owner Mohamad Zaki Khotob, 35, who has about 100 trees, said he expects a drop in the harvest this year.
“I think the harvesting would be delayed to July or August. The hot weather has slowed down the growth of the fruits.
“This is probably the worst season in the past five years. Hopefully, the rain will come soon,” he said.
Another planter in Kampung Belukar, Mohd Azdha Jusoh, is not affected by the hot weather as his farm, which has 900 trees, is equipped with an underground irrigation system from the nearby Sungai Abi.
“The hot weather allows more flowers to be produced from the trees and they can be kept cool by the underground water.
“If the hot weather persists, I expect this season’s produce to increase by 50% from last year,” he said, adding he expects to harvest at least five tonnes of the mangoes this year.
Harvested only once a year, the sweet and aromatic Harumanis mango, which maintains its green colouring even when ripe, is the most expensive local mangoes as it could fetch up to RM40 per kg in the country and are exported to countries such as Singapore, Taiwan and Japan.
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