Mango Varieties

SCMD, Malihabad

SCMD, Malihabad

SCMD, Malihabad

SCMD, Malihabad

SCMD, Malihabad

SCMD, Malihabad

SCMD, Malihabad
Latest Activities

Untitled Document

Finding the Balance Between Commercial and Seedling Trees in Sarsanda
Maiku Lal
Mr Maiku Lal started mango cultivation about 35 years back in Sarsanda village. He developed a flair for cultivation of seedling types, which are trees grown from seed, because of their multi-purpose character for a wide range of uses and their ability to thrive on land where grafts are difficult to establish and survival rates are poor. Apart from planting seedling varieties in sandy soils, he planted grafted saplings of commercial varieties in loamy soils, which retain more water and nutrients. He is convinced that his way of organising and managing his orchard, includi
ng a good mix of common grafted varieties and lesser-known seedling varieties, provides him with the best income possibilities and benefits for his family’s livelihoods. Sarsanda is a town in Kakori block (sub-district) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh situated 14 km north of Lucknow. It is located on the Central Gangetic Plain, with a subtropical climate with three distinct seasons, namely summer (April-mid June), monsoon (mid June-September/October) and winter (November-February). The farm land in Sarsanda is characterized by loamy and sandy soils on mostly undulating terrain. This area is widely known for its mango, particularly the famous variety Dashehari that originated from Dashehari village in Kakori block. Mango cultivation in the village of Sarsanda was however not a commercial venture until recently (the last 25 years) and most of the older orchards were of seedling origin. The orchards planted about 50 years back were established without irrigation facilities.  The planting of grafted plants was rare and was limited to a very few plants in the orchard.

About 50 years back, mango cultivation might have been an important occupation in Malihabad, Kakori and other nearby sub-districts of Lucknow, but in Sarsanda the average man was not able to plant mango due to several environmental but also socio-cultural reasons.  In Sarsanda the villagers were not allowed to develop orchards and only Jamindars or influential people owned orchards. Other households had to work on their orchards or could grow annual crops only following the old traditions. In addition, the lack of tube wells and unleveled sandy land were some of the factors which restricted mango cultivation in this village. Efforts made by Mr Maiku Lal, 35 years ago, to plant grafts were not very successful and he decided to replace dead grafts with seedling plants. After seeing the better survival rates of seedlings, he gradually started planting seedlings in the gaps or on the sandy undulated farm land that he had available. Mr Maiku Lal considers those non-commercial varieties as a better option for household consumption because of their high digestibility, juiciness and variation in taste and aroma. He also thinks that seedling types have a higher nutritional value because of their digestible fibers and suitability for making juice. Some of the seedling types are used for making pickle or are made into powder to serve as a food ingredient. According to him, one of the leading commercial varieties, Dashehari, provides fruit for only about one month. Other farmers’ varieties are available even after the end of the Dashehari season and a continuous supply of fruits from the orchard is possible for a longer period. Several of the seedlings even get a better market price than that of commercial varieties he noticed in recent years. He considers an orchard based on seedlings or some lesser-known varieties as the best option for sandy soils with limited irrigation facility. The cultivation of diverse mango varieties (both seedling and commercial types) provides his family with a sustainable income and he realized that an orchard with seedlings or lesser-known varieties is also profitable due to its lower establishment and maintenance costs.

Unique Features
Nowadays most of the orchards in Sarsanda are of Dashehari grafts only and, therefore, farmers are facing a lot of competition in the market for just a very short fruiting season, resulting in very low prices. Mr Maiku Lal is one of the few farmers who utilized both type of soils in the village. While others merely focused solely on loamy soils or were persuaded to grow grafts of commercial varieties, he is one of a small group of farmers that has mixed orchards and has maintained many seedlings and lesser known varieties in his orchard.

About 40 different mango varieties are maintained in the orchard of Mr Maiku Lal .  Most of them are developed by growing seedlings. Next to comercial varieties such as Dashehari, he maintains lesser-known varieties such as Tukmi Chausa, Gulab Jamun, Kism Safeda, Deshi Taimuriya, Gola Seb, Lambauri Chausa, Deshi Langra, Tukmi Surkhi, Lambauri, Safeda, Chonha Gola and several unnamed seedlings in about 2 ha of land. He named his varieties on the basis of their resemblance to the cultivar name or features of the mother tree that was used for raising the seedling. In addition, he has planted several grafts of commercial varieties such as Dashehari, Lucknow Safeda, and Langra along lesser-known traditional varieties such as Amin which he collected from nurseries in Malihabad and Mal. He combined late maturing varieties including five types of Savnaha seedlings which mature in August and are a good source of income. Furthermore he has seedling types and varieties such as Thukmi Gola for pickle and Gola Seb and Tukmi Lamboi (sucking types), that produce fruits merely for home consumption for a longer period of time.

In Sarsanda, the type of soil played an important role in the selection of the variety to be planted. The difficulties faced in orchard establishment gave Mr Maiku Lal an alternative way of growing seedling mango trees and also of expanding the total area under mangoes. Thus his passion for collection and growing farmers’ varieties was triggered by the soil type of his land. He used seedlings and purchased grafts of non-commercial varieties from nurseries to enrich his collection. While other farmers simply bought grafts of commercial types, he selected a combination of varieties with different times of harvest which are suitable for sucking1, pickle and table pruposes. In the last few years he found some traders who provide attractive prices, which motivated him to continue their cultivation. He made selections from seedlings and introduced varieties from many different sources. He selected the seeds for planting based on their color, shape, taste and time of ripening. His quest for diverse varieties from Malihabad nurseries helped in maintaining varieties that probably are not available anymore. He recalls that nurseries were most respected if they had a large number of varieties available, but nowadays most nurseries only provide the few commercial cultivars that are now in fashion. 

Since he realized that he maintains wide range of diversity, Mr. Maiku Lal is eager to share mango varieties and associated knowledge with his friends. He also makes available scion sticks of promising types to the community nursery that was established with the help of the tropical fruit tree project for their multiplication and distribution. Mr Maiku Lal is proud that his varieties are taken up and will be promoted in Sarsanda and surrounding villages such as Kasmandi Kalan, Gopramau and Mohmmad Nagar Taluqedari. Until recently he was only aware of inarching, a traditional method of grafting by growing together the branches of the mother plant and the rootstock plant. This method requires the rootstock or new tree to be planted next to the mother plant and thus it was not possible to multiply the varieties for exchange or sharing with other farmers. With the establishment of community nurseries and the use of propagation methods like wedge grafting, he will be able to duplicate the diversity in his orchard and share his varieties with other community members.

Mr Maiku Lal and his son Mr Raja Ram wish to continue the cultivation of a mixed and diverse group of varieties in his orchard for income and home use but also to conserve the diversity. He suggests that recognition of those farmers who are engaged in conserving farmers’ varieties will motivate farmers to strengthen on-farm conservation activities. Up to now most attention has gone to farmers that grow commercial varieties only. He says it is important to find specific markets where they can obtain good prices for those non-commercial varieties, as in the general mandi (market) where prices and interest are generally low.

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


Important Links: Mango Resources Information System
  Central Institute For Subtropical Horticulture
  Bioversity International
Connect Us with:
Supported by      
The Society for Conservation of Mango Diversity
Copyright © The Society for Conservation of Mango Diversity, All Rights Reserved