Central Mango Mayhem: Climate Crisis Threatens India’s Beloved Fruit

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The mango is the most beloved and eagerly awaited fruit in India, bringing sweetness and relief during the long summer days. It is used in a variety of ways, from kebabs to sour dishes to refreshing drinks. However, this year, the tradition of mango cultivation is under threat due to an early and devastating heat wave in northern India.

The intense heat has caused significant damage to mango crops, affecting the livelihoods of small farmers and the millions who rely on the fruit. This situation is a stark example of the challenges India faces in ensuring food security as climate change worsens and agricultural productivity struggles to keep up with the growing population.

The impact of the heat wave is evident on farms like Mohammed Aslam’s in Malihabad, where his once healthy mango trees failed to produce fruit due to the unusually high temperatures. This has led to a significant drop in mango production, not only in northern India but also in the south, where heavy rainfall has caused further damage.

The harsh conditions have threatened the centuries-old mango-growing culture, particularly in districts like Malihabad, known for its delicious mango varieties. Farmers are now facing the difficult decision of diversifying into other crops or selling off their land, as the future of mango cultivation remains uncertain.

The emotional and psychological connection to mangoes is deeply ingrained in the culture of the region, making the impact of the declining mango yields even more profound. As farmers like Aslam and Ahmad struggle to cope with the loss of their mango crops, the future of this cherished tradition hangs in the balance.

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