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
Latest Activities
myscript
myscript
myscript
myscript
myscript
myscript
myscript
myscript

Untitled Document

Conserving Century-old Mango Varieties in Kasmandi Kalan: The Story of the Nawabs
Nawab Hasan
Introduction
Long known for its mango orchards, Kasmandi Kalan is surrounded by mango trees all around, including a wide range of traditional varieties, both commercial and non-commercial. Kasmandi Kalan is the birthplace and residence of several Muhammadans distinguished for learning and wealth. The interest of those nawabs in mango and its diversity as an item of celebration and wealth has created a niche for this village in creating and conserving promising mango varieties. Kasmandi Kalan is a small village in the Lucknow District of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is situated on
the outskirts of the city, 11 km away. The village is located in Malihabad sub-district within the central Gangetic Plain and the climate is a subtropical type with three district seasons: summer, monsoon and winter. Among different mango varieties grown in Kasmandi Kalan, Dashehari is by far the most popular. Other more common varieties such as Lucknowa, Chausa, Fazli and Jauhari Safeda are also grown by several households but not on a large scale. Several rare varieties not known to most people are also grown by the farmers of this area. Varieties like Gilas, Malihabad Safeda, Abdul Khalid Khan and Acharwala, among many others, evolved through seedling selection and are cultivated by a few farmers and that too on a very small scale. Mr. Nawab Hasan is one of them. A resident of Kasmandi Kalan, he has a long family tradition of mango cultivation that was started by his forefathers. The general tendency in the last two decades to plant only commercial varieties such as Dushaheri and Lucknow Safeda has not convinced him to cut down the old trees he inherited from his forefathers.  Several selected hundred-year-old trees, planted at the time when mango varieties were owned for family pride, feasts and exchange by the nawabs of Lucknow are still thriving in his orchard.

Motivation
Mr Hasan Ahmed, the father of Mr Nawab Hasan, purchased a piece of land about 60 years ago in Kasmandi Kalan along with fruiting trees of several non commercial mango varieties. The plot contained a collection of trees including traditional farmer varieties collected not only from Malihabad but also from other mango-growing areas like Shahbad and Sandila, about 160 km northwest of the state capital, Lucknow. These varieties were collected and planted by the then owner of the land, a wealthy citizen of Lucknow, who had a flair for collecting and maintaining the diversity in his orchard. The collection contains a wide range of grafted non-commercial varieties. Most people were not interested in this plot of land; only people with a knowledge of mango varieties admired the richness of the collection. The collection includes some of the unique varieties of Malihabad. Malihabadi nurseries and the nawabs played an important role in the conservation of throves of uncommon varietites with rare fruit charateristics. Those unique varieties were mostly used as show pieces during celebrations or used as a special gift, in the form of its fruits or as a sapling, a custom that eroded but still exists. However, many of these varieties were not known to the general consumer, received low sales prices and gradually the enthusiasm of owners declined. This led to the replacement of many old trees with commercial varieties or other crops. Mr. Nawab Hasan was also reluctant to keep up the old orchard because of low returns. However, for the last four or five years he was able to get a sustainable price. His efforts to sell the fruits to few selected traders with interest in the old varieties instead of the general mandi was successful and presently he feels satisfied with the earnings. The higher price of fruits has changed the view of Mr Hasan about conserving the varieties. Initially the varieties were conserved due to affection and attachment to the trees planted by forefathers and now their conservation is also supported by a fair price for the unique varieties available in his orchard.

Maintenance
Mr. Nawab Hasan maitains 51 different traditional farmers’ varieties in his orchard, most of which are selections collected from elsewere. Varieties like Surkhi, Sundari, Pauda Gaj, Deshi Bombaiya, Machhli, Pan, Matka Gola, Chandni, Bhura, Nauraj, Surkha Matiyara, Nazir Pasand, Baudi, Kamal Pasand and several others may not be available in other orchards of Malihabad. A few of them are the only living trees of their varieties on earth. The trees ages range from 50 to more than 100 years, thus showing a continuous agumentation process of varieties over decades. These are grafted plants, thus providing a biased collection of trait-specific germplasm, which can be considered a farmer’s field genebank. Observing the market trend of a small group of consumers interested in lesser-known traditional farmers’ varieties, he is now also interested in planting some attractive collections that are available in the National Field Genebank of Mango at the Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture (CISH) in Lucknow. The community nurseries established under the UNEP-GEF project will play a key role in duplicating and distributing the diversity of this orchard in other villages so that these varieties will not vanish. The livelihood of Mr. Nawab Hasan is not mainly dependent on the earnings of this orchard. However, if he can support the maintanance of the orchard through the yearly returns from the varieties it would mean conservation is not a loss-making enterprise. He has been conserving the diversity for the last 60 years and also interested in maintaing it in the future.

Adaptation
Mr. Nawab Hasan’s collection includes grafted trees with a wide range of particular fruiting traits well adapted to use for sucking, table and pickle purposes. His collection serves as a repository of rare farmers’ varieties of Malihabad and other mango-growing areas and therefore deserves to be called a farmer’s field genebank. A rich array of old varieties in the orchard indicates that the grafts were prepared from promising mother trees and planted in the orchard by the owners at the time.


Promotion
Maintenance of a good number of old Malihabadi varieties by Mr Nawab Hasan also encouraged other farmers in Kasmandi Kalan to retain century-old superior seedling trees, withstanding the dominance and popularity of commercial varieties like Dashehari, Chausa and Lucknow Safeda. His orchard, with grafted trees of 51 distinct farmer varieties, is an excellent example of on-farm conservation of mango diversity. The preference for commercial varieties for new plantation in the last two or three decades has sharply narrowed the ratio between commercial and traditional varieties, he says.  However, he continues, in recent years farmer varieties could fetch better prices. The sometimes forgotten cultural heritage connected with those varieties can be used to improve the marketing of these fruits. He now will surely advocate the cultivation of farmers’ varieties to people known to him.

Continuation_and_Support
He is interested in planting red-colored and new types missing in his collection on a different piece of land. The gradual increase in demand for rare and sucking type mangoes among a select group of consumers in Lucknow helped him to cover the maintenance costs of this orchard. However, the difficulty is to find those consumers who have an interest in these heritage varieties. Assistance in the collective marketing of those varieties is required, especially for smaller farmers, he says.

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