Mango Varieties
AMAN ABBASI

SCMD, Malihabad
BHADAIYA SUKUL

SCMD, Malihabad
SURKHA THAKURBAGH

SCMD, Malihabad
SADAPHAL MALIHABAD

SCMD, Malihabad
JAUHARI SAFEDA

SCMD, Malihabad
GOLA BHADAIYAN

SCMD, Malihabad
GILAS

SCMD, Malihabad
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Untitled Document

Limited Resources Led Farmers to Create and Conserve Mango Varieties, Malihabad
Chhote Lal Kashyap
Introduction
Malihabad, one of the three tehsils (smallest political unit) of Lucknow, has several claims to fame but it is the mango varieties that have put the town on the world map, as when the Malihabadi Dashehari variety was granted Geographical Indication registration in 2009. The Malihabad forms a part of Central Ganga Plains. The climate is subtropical with three distinct seasons, namely summer, monsoon and winter. Winter commences usually in the month of November and extends until February, followed by summer from April to the middle of June. Then the monsoon starts, lasting upto Se
ptember or October. The temperature is at its maximum during the month of May and at its minimum in January. Gopramau is one of the villages in Kakori Mandal in Lucknow District, Uttar Pradesh State, and is located at 16 km distance from the major city of Lucknow. Towns located nearby are Malihabad, Sarojaninagar and Bakshi-Ka-Talab. Mr Chhote Lal Kashyap is a farmer of Gopramau village and belongs to the middle-income group. His family has 19 members, including12 grandchildren. He started mango cultivation about 40 years agoin the basins of the Gomti River, where it was not common. He developed a unique attachment to farmers’ mango varieties, which are mostly grown from seed and which can thrive well under abiotic and biotic stresses. He gets half of his income from the orchard with its unique seedling types and prefers to plant new trees as seedlings instead of using grafted saplings. During the mango season, he devotes most of histime to the orchard.Tailoring is his secondary occupation when there is not much work in the orchard.

Motivation
Malihabad is not only important for numerous varieties but also for the fact that the majority of agriculture land is under mango cultivation. About five decades back, Mr Chhote Lal, owner of approximately 2 ha, became fascinated with the mango farmers of the area and made efforts to plant an orchard on his own land, which was not suitable for cultivation of arable crops. He made efforts to plant commercial varieties and failed to growgrafted saplings due to the poor sandy soils, undulating landscape and lack of irrigation facilities. He met with the people planting seedling mango in Malihabad-Kakori-Mal areas and eventually his own efforts in planting seedlings was successful, resulting in an orchard of more than one hundred varieties. Initially he made attempts to plant 150 Dashehari grafts purchased from the Malihabad nursery, with a survival of about 35 grafts. Dead grafts were replaced with seelings. Out of these seedling trees he selected good ones and removed rest of the seedlings and the number of varieties increased to 135.  He gradually became an owner of an orchard rich in diversity. The genetically diverse varietial collection of trees provides major support for his family’ livelihoods. Mr. Chhote Lal maintains seedlings because of higher survival/establishment rates in sandy soils. Over the years he also observed that harvest of seedling types is possible for a longer period than Dashehari, thus providing a prolonged supply of fruits for home consumption and sale. His income starts with the early sale of seedlings suitable for pickle in May-June and continues even after the end of harvesting of commercial varieties like Dashehari. Seedling varieties mature at different times, thus allowing farmers to avoid the dip in market price due to Dashehari glut. Recognizing these advantages, he is no longer eager to replace his seedlings with commercial varieties.  The productivity of seedlings is sometimes higher, as he noticed his orchard is much more productive under challenging pest conditions. Under conditions of water scarcity, Dashehari and other varieties produce small fruits. Several seedling types ripen late and develop a good fruit size because of rains before their harvest.

Maintenance
Mr Chhote Lal maitains about 135 different seedling types and three grafted varieties in his orchard, most of which originated from seed (bijju). Bijju Deshi Dashehari, Deshi Chausa, Tukmi Heera, Sunehra, Badamba, Gola, Dil Pasandare some of the seedling types that he has named on the basis of their resemblance to known parent cultivars or because of the similarity of particular shapes or colours of the fruit.‘Deshi’ or ‘biju’ means ‘local’ and seedling trees that did not receive specific names are called just that. Since most of the trees are seedlings grown from the seeds taken from commercial varieties,they resemble these cultivars in one or more characters.  For example, Deshi Dashehari means a seedling of Dashehari. It was a difficult task for Mr. Chhota Lal to establish the orchard on sandy undulating land where irrigation facilities were not available. Cattle and wild animals damaged the plants and he often used the fencing of small plants with bushes and shrubs to save the plants from grazing animals during the initial years of orchard establishment. He has maintained the genetic diversity of seedlings in his orchard for the last 40 years and is interested in maintaing it also in the future.

Adaptation
Soils in Gopramau are sandy in the basins of Gomti River and the land owned by Shri Chote Lal are not level and lack irrigation facilities. He faced difficulties in establishing trees of grafted varieties like Dashehari and Lucknow Safeda and thus planting of seedlings was the easiest and cheapest way out. Seedlings are hardy in nature and one does not need to purchase grafted saplings from nurseries. The source of planting material was mainly seedlings and only a few grafts of commercial varieties were planted. Planting seedling has helped him to create new mango varieties through the selection of superior ones from the population. This became a routine activity of Shri Chote Lal during the process of orchard development. Seedlings of attractive and high quality fruitsare soughtwhen selecting the best seeds/stones for planting seedlings. For growing seelings, the farmer selectsfruit on the basis of fruit colour (more yellow than green at the ripe stage), shape (more uniform and less asymetrical), pulp colour (orange), sweetness, sugar acid blend and pleasing aroma.


Promotion
Mr Chhote Lal considers the uniqueness of seedling types and non-commercial varieties as strength. In recent years, he says, the price of these mangoes has been increasing with the declining number of seedling types or non-commercial varieties. Most orchards with seedling types are replaced by commercial cultivars such as Dushaheri and Lucknow Safeda or cut down because of urbanization. The large-scale replacement and planting of commercial varieties like Dashehari, Chaise and Lucknow Safeda by many farmers is the reason for the market glut of these cultivars and the subsequent steep decline in prices. Farmer varieties and seedling types, being rare and limited, can bring better prices if consumers are aware of their quality and nutritional aspects. In markets, commercial varieties are available in huge quantities and non-commercial varieties are available only in some areas of a city and that too with few fruit vendors. Attractive appearance and good taste fetch better prices for the farmer’s varieties and seedling types, so that the market trend in the last few years has motivated him to continue with the cultivation of these lesser-known varieties. Several of the seedling types are suitable for pickle and fetch a good price in the market at the immature stage. Demand is increasing every year, according to Mr. Chhote Lal. His livelihood is mainly dependent on lesser-known varieties and he earns income by selling fruits in selected markets. According to him, large mandis (local markets) are not good places for farmers’ varieties because of malpractices and the very low prices offered for the produce. The majority of the fruit vendors in urban areas purchase commercial varieties like Dashehari, Lucknow Safeda and Chausa; only a few go for rare or lesser-known varieties. Gradually, sucking mangoes are regaining the preference of city dwellers. He says that cultivation of these varieties is becoming profitable and that farmers no longer want to switch to plant commercial varieties. He has very limited plants of commercial varieties like Dashehari and Lucknow Safeda, and these mostly for his own consumption.

Continuation_and_Support
Mr Chhote Lal is proud of being an owner of several varieties. The conservation of diversity adds to his esteem in the community. He exchanges fruit with others and earns his livelihood by selling fruit in the market. He sets an example for a sustainable livelihood through mango diversity conservation and expects that his son will continue the cultivation of seedlings and non-commercial varieties. He would like a tube well in his orchard to support this venture and expects financial help for the maintenance of the diversity needed for the development of niche markets for farmers’ varieties.

Source: Custodian Farmers of Agricultural Biodiversity: Selected Profiles from South and South East Asia

 

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