In New Chandragupt Nagar in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, mature mango trees appear to have hundreds of white bags hanging from their branches or peeping from the foliage. What is up? These mangoes are covered in small biodegradable pouches, which promote their organic growth without any disturbance from pests or other small animals.
Christened ‘fruit masks’, these little bags not only act as an organic pest repellant but also help protect the fruit from natural agents like heavy wind and rain.
Gorakhpur-based mother and son duo Anita and Utsav Mertia, have come up with this ingenious, organic way of keeping their mango orchards safe. In a conversation with The Better India, Utsav Mertia shared more details about the method.
“Every year, once the mangoes in our orchard started ripening, they faced recurrent attacks from pests, squirrels, birds and even monkeys. Around 10-15 per cent of our mango production was affected by birds and squirrels. We were considering organic ways to keep them at bay when we had the idea of these fruit masks,” shares Utsav.
Along with his mother Anita, an ardent farming enthusiast, Utsav locally procured small biodegradable bags with minuscule pores on them. They tied these bags to each mango in the small, & unripe stage.
The task of tying the bags to each mango was cumbersome, and the family took on the help of professional workers who are experts in climbing trees. Some of the bags Utsav and his mother were tied by using a high stool to reach the more accessible branches.