(Economic Times India) Indian Agriculture Research Institute has developed four hybrid mango varieties which promise a yield three-four times higher than the existing varieties. This is likely to scale up mango production in the next 10 years without any additional input cost. The varieties named Pusa Pratibha, Pusa Peetamber, Pusa Shreshth and Pusa Lalima possess traits of popular varieties like Dussehari and Neelam.
India is the world’s largest producer of mango at 15 million tonne. It exports around 60,000 tonne to the UAE, UK, US and Bangladesh earning $35 million.
The four hybrids are a result of 15 years of research by Dr A K Singh who heads the division of fruits and horticulture technology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute. “These varieties are expected to yield 20 tonne per hectare as against the average yield of 7 tonne of the existing varieties,” he says.
“About 600 saplings of these varieties can be planted in a hectare as against 100 plants of Dussehari, which automatically improves productivity. Moreover, smaller size of these plants make plucking of fruits easier,” he says.
These hybrids are regular bearers as against Dussehari which bears fruits on alternate years. Fruits have higher pulp content and longer shelf life which extends to 7-8 days at room temperature after ripening.
“These varieties will replace aging mango trees as they are resistant to mango malformation and major insect pests,” he says. IARI has distributed over 350 saplings this year across the country for plantation. “Multiplication will start from next year and in the next 10 years, a large number of farmers would adopt these varieties,” he adds.
Meanwhile, this year’s mango output would be a mixed bag. While Maharashtra is reporting a better harvest of Alphonso, leading mango producers Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh may produce a moderate voume. Last year’s Alphonso production was down by 80%. “It is early to talk about mango production this year as only 30% flowering has taken place till now.
But we can say that Alphonso production can be better than the previous year,” said Dr Bharat Salvi, scientist, Regional Fruit Research Station, Vengurle. Cyclonic rainfall in December and January has affected flowering in coastal Andhra Pradesh. “We have just started our surveys. Initial findings show there have been very less flowering and yields are also likely to reduce,” said D Aparna, scientist at the Nuziveedu Mango Research Station of Dr YSR Horticulture University. In Uttar Pradesh, known for its Dussehari, Langda and Chausa varieties, production is likely to be down this year. Early indications show that the production is likely to be affected by an unusual low temperature.
“Flowering ideally needs temperature between 10-12 degrees and 25-30 degrees. The temperature in the state however is ranging between 4-5 degrees and 20-25 degrees respectively.