Mango Moods

Briefly: If you’re looking for best quality mango saplings visit Lucknow’s Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture

mango fruit

For those who love mangoes and plan to develop an orchard one should visit the Lucknow-based Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH). Sprawled over 132.5 hectares near Kakori village in Uttar Pradesh, CISH has the largest collection of mango varieties in the world.

Name a variety, and you will find a row of its cultivars in CISH fields. The institute has a field gene collection of 708 varieties of mango, collected over a period of 40 years from India and abroad—there are 17 of the best varieties from across the world. “This is the largest collection of mango germplasms (genetic material) in the world. And more varieties are being added,” says Dr H. Ravishankar, director of the institute.

“Mango is propagated through seed germination, because of which some varieties may be lost—this is where the germplasm bank becomes important. Each variety has some special characteristics, which can be exploited for hybridisation experiments in order to get better crops. Elaichi, for example, is an indigenous variety of mango which is found to be free from flowering malfunctioning—where the clustering of the flowers prevents the blooms from developing into fruits—and this quality can be exploited to get better hybrid varieties,” says Dr Ravishankar.

CISH has also pioneered a plantation method called ultra high density meadow orchard plantation of guava, which is proving to be popular with farmers in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The method allows plantation of 5,000 plants per hectare instead of the traditional number of 277 and produces 50 tonnes of fruit per hectare as against 10-15 tonnes in traditional plantations. The height of the plants is maintained at 1.5-2 metres and with pruning and cutting thrice a year, they yield three harvests of guava in a year.

According to Dr  Ravishankar CISH is planning to approach Krishi Vigyan Kendra in every state to transfer the technology developed by the Institute. “We intend to give away mother plants to the Kendras who in turn can develop saplings for farmers,” he said.

CISH Achievements in Mango

  • A promising mango hybrid CISH-M-1, a cross between Amrapali and Janardhan Pasand, which is regular bearer having yellow colour with red blush, firm flesh and scanty fibres has been released as “Ambika”. It has good potential for domestic and export markets.
  • CISH-M-2, a cross-developed with Dashehari and Chausa, is dark yellow in colour with firm flesh and scanty fibres. It is a late season variety and has good commercial value.
  • Two mango hybrids, viz. H-39 and H-1084 have also been found promising.
  • Mango cv. Elaichi has been found free from floral malformation and now it is being used in breeding programme.
  • A south Indian processing cv. Bangalora (Totapuri) has been found regular bearing and high yielding under Lucknow conditions and is being recommended for its cultivation in northern India.

If you have a query, you can write to Dr  H Ravishankar, the Director, Horticulture at drhravishankar@gmail.com

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