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India: Israeli experts help to cultivate quality mangoes

The State Horticulture Department has adopted the ‘Israeli experiment' in mango cultivation to give value-addition to Tamil Nadu mangoes and get them a pride of place among the choicest table varieties abroad. Tamil Nadu, one of the leading producers of the ‘King of Fruits,' has brought in experts from Israel, which, despite its limited resources, is emerging a potential competitor to other major mango producing countries in the world.


Two mango experts from the Extension Services of Department of Fruit Trees of Ministry of Agriculture, Israel, have been frequently visiting Tamil Nadu, especially the mango growing pockets, primarily with the objective of “changing the mindset” of both farmers and officers of Tamil Nadu who have been adhering to the traditional way of cultivation resulting in poor yield.

“With less and insignificant cultivation in about 2,000 and odd hectares, mostly abetting the Sea of Galilee and weathering a hostile climate, we can produce between 25 and 35 tonnes of the choicest fruits per hectare, which have become the preferred best in the European market today,” said Cliff Love and Michael Moshe Roy, who were here recently to share their rich experiences with extensional officials of mango cultivating pockets.


The Indian national average per hectare, according to an official, is a dismal 6.2 tonnes while for Tamil Nadu it is 5.52 tonnes. Mr. Love and Mr. Roy said archaic farming methods should be replaced with modern technology of high density planting, pruning, prevention of flooding and maximum light harvesting for better and rich colouring of these juicy fruits. They had carried out extensive field experiments at the State Horticultural Farm in Krishnagiri district in June. “This is our second visit to the farm,” they said and insisted on canopy management in high density planting for bountiful and quality harvest.


The experts said with heavy constraints Israel's innovative techniques could boost the quality production of mangoes. “Today we give a tough competition to the established exporters to European countries with our commercial varieties, which are exceptional in size and rich in colour. The Asian fruits are juicy and have a strong aroma, which Europeans shun,” they said. A senior horticultural official said in another five to 10 years production of quality mangoes would be possible in Tamil Nadu since major growers had shown an inclination to adopt the tech-driven Israeli method. According to 2006 statistics, Tamil Nadu has 1.62 lakh hectares to produce 8.95 lakh tonnes a year.


Publication date: 12/10/2010


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