Ultrahigh density orchards to save mango farmers
The success of ultra high-density method of growing mango orchards in the district is rekindling hopes among farmers. The encouragement given by horticulture and micro-irrigation departments is boosting their morale and is helping them to slowly switch over to the congested high-density plantation method from the traditional spacious plantation method.
Singarayakonda: The success of ultra high-density method of growing mango orchards in the district is rekindling hopes among farmers. The encouragement given by horticulture and micro-irrigation departments is boosting their morale and is helping them to slowly switch over to the congested high-density plantation method from the traditional spacious plantation method.
When Ch Venkateswara Rao of Mannetikota planted Royal Special (Punasa) variety of mangoes using the ultra high-density method four years ago, the villagers and some other farmers ridiculed him. In traditional mango plantation, the farmers plant about 60 to 70 saplings in an acre of land. But Venkateswara Rao planted 660 saplings on one acre and utilised the micro irrigation scheme for watering the plants.
He regularly pruned the plants so that by the time they become trees, their height is not more than seven but having large number of flowers. By the third year, the trees started to yield clusters of mangoes. As the Royal Special is a variety that gives fruit up to December, he harvested the mangoes about 10 tonnes on one acre while his neighbours are facing difficulties of growing four tonnes of Banginapalli on one acre. Being an unseasonal mango, it received an average price of Rs 50 per kg while the Banginapalli variety was sold at just Rs 20 per kg.
Speaking to the media here on Wednesday, Pallaki Adireddy, horticulture department officer at Ulavapadu, said, “This method has proved to be successful in the Prakasam and Chittoor districts. In Chittoor, they are harvesting Thothapuri and Alfonso varieties and getting high yields. In traditional plantations, the trees rise to about 30 feet and the fruit will fall on the ground from the trees. This damages the fruits once it ripens and it is the reason for the exporters and pulp makers are not preferring Banginapally variety here”.
Adireddy said that under the ultra high-density method, the branches would be pruned so that the whole tree receives sunlight to increase the blooming of a number of flowers and growth of fruits. The pests can be easily killed and the fruits can be handpicked in this system without any hassle. This method is not only for the Royal Special, but suits also for the Banginapalli and Rasaalu varieties which are popular from this area.”
After witnessing the success of the farmers at various places, their neighbouring farmers are also slowly switching over to the ultra high-density plantation. They are removing one Banginapalli tree and planting six to eight Banginapalli and Royal Special saplings in its place.
By Naresh Nandam