Muthalamada mango growers prepare for next season


Mango Muthalamada

Mango growers and traders in Muthalamada in the district are banking on the monsoon to help them recover from disastrous harvests in recent years. Over the past two years, late, untimely rains and an unprecedented thrips attack have nearly decimated crops in the state’s ‘mango town’.

However, in an extraordinary show of confidence, dozens of farmers have started preparing for the next season in earnest. To beat the weather and the thrips, the farmers started pruning and fertilizing the trees a month in advance.

“Normally, preparations such as pruning and fertilizing start in July.” “This time we started in June, hoping for a better return,” said Hafees JM, a major mango producer and exporter from Muthalamada.

Even as the current season’s mangoes from Tamil Nadu continued to reach the Kerala market, farmers in Muthalamada have started planning for the next season. Farmers expect a higher yield by January-February next year.

Muthalamada mangoes are unique in the country due to their early harvest. “We were the first to enter the national mango market. Muthalamada mangoes reach markets in Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad weeks ahead of mangoes from other parts of the country. This is why we have a unique position in the national mango market,” Hafees explained.

Many farmers use tillers to break up and top up the soil. Farmers, however, avoid cluster farming and prefer young trees to old, sturdy trees, unlike in previous years.

“The reason is obvious. Young trees are seen to produce more than older trees. “They are also less vulnerable to thrips attacks.Hafees added. Another farmer, Mr. Sachindran, backed Hafees up saying that thrips had attacked the flowers of old trees in revenge. Farmers continue to worry about thrips. “Thrips or no thrips, we we have to live.” “We have to look for ways to avoid this threat,” Sachindran said.

Entomologists at Kerala Agricultural University are developing alternatives to bio-pesticides to control thrips infestation. Some of the experiments carried out in the mango orchards of Muthalamada have been successful. The mango orchards of Muthalamada, which cover 4,500 hectares, are the pride of Kerala. Muthalamada produces popular mango varieties such as Alphonso, Banganapalli, Sindhooram, Mallika, Kalapadi, Malgoa, Natsela, Kilichundan and Neelam.

Despite the government’s announcement to establish a mango processing center in Muthalamada, turning the state’s ‘mango city’ into a South Indian mango park, nothing has happened. product. According to the government, the mango park will include facilities for processing, packaging and exporting mangoes. The Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) agreed to fund a joint facilitation center for juice and mango processing two years ago.

Apart from the quality of the soil in Muthalamada, the climate of the region has been favorable for the cultivation of mangoes. Despite the government’s proposal to gradually switch from mango cultivation to organic farming by introducing clusters, it has been observed that farmers are moving away from cluster farming.

First published on: 02 July 2022, 11:07 IST


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