There are relatively fewer mango trees in bloom this year in orchards in Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Naogaon compared to that in previous years.
Mango growers and traders say the harvest drops when there are fewer blooms on the trees. So, they fear a loss this year.
However, experts say the buds are late because of a prolonged winter, and that the problem will be resolved in a week or so.
Mahtab Uddin Badsha of Bagha upazila in Rajshahi owns a mango orchard that has about 1,000 trees. He has also taken a lease of another mango orchard.
He said, "There are fewer mango buds this year compared to that in the past few years. It might be a natural phenomenon."
But such is not the case in Abdur Razzak's orchard in Samsadipur village under Paba upazila in Rajshahi. He has 1,200 mango trees and they are in full bloom. He said, "All the trees have sufficient blooms, but it will take one more week for the buds to develop properly."
He added that the extended winter has caused the blooms to appear late, but now that the temperature is rising, the blooms will appear soon.
"The trees have already been sprayed with insecticide, and they will be sprayed again once the buds appear completely." he added.
On a visit to some mango orchards on February 24, this correspondent found that many of the trees were in perfect bloom, but some of them had no blooms at all.
The mangos produced in Rajshahi come mainly from Puthia, Durgapur, Charghat, Bagha and Bagmara upazilas. The growers in these areas also say that there are fewer mango buds this year than in previous years.
Mokhlesur Rahman, a mango farmer of Baneshwar in Puthia, said, "Mango buds have started appearing. It may take time to complete the growing process. However, there are fewer buds this year than in past years. So, the harvest may be poor this year, which may result in losses."
The main mango producing regions are Rajshahi, Naogaon, Natore and Chapainawabganj.
Rajshahi district has 17,573 hectares of mango orchards with a production target of 209,378 tonnes; in Naogaon, the target is 317,865 tonnes on 18,666 hectares of land; in Chapainawabganj the target is 239,000 tonnes on 31,820 hectares of land; and in Natore it is 32,394 tonnes in 4,850 hectares of land.
Shamshul Haq, deputy director of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Rajshahi, said the prolonged winter in the district has delayed the development of mango buds.
"The number of buds on the mango trees has increased because the temperature has started to go up for the past few days. Around 60 percent of the trees have buds now, and by next week, around 90 percent of the trees will be in full bloom," he said.
Around 10 percent of the tress have no buds, he added.
Additional Director (acting) of Rajshahi DAE Mohammad Khoir Uddin Mollah said, "We can only predict the production – if it will be high or low – when the underdeveloped mangoes appear," said the DAE official.
"Despite the arrival of plenty of buds, most of them fall to the ground. So, it would be better if there are fewer buds and they survive. It may result in a bumper production," he added.