India: UP mango growers now turning towards litchi
Mango, which had been synonymous with Uttar Pradesh, is losing its popularity against litchi fast arresting attention from the state leethchi growers.
With climatic changes affecting agricultural production in Uttar Pradesh, mango growers, specially those in Saharanpur belt are fast turning towards leethchi production.
This came to the light in a research titled 'Impact of Climate Change on Mango Crop', carried out by Sudhir Mishra, commissioned by a non-government organisation Center for Science and Environment.
The study had revealed that due to rapid climatic changes in last one decade, farmers in Saharanpur belt have started growing leetchi in place of mango.
"Climatic changes have hit the mango production in this belt badly. Last year the entire crop was damaged first due to excessive cold and then by rains. Besides, various diseases hit production resulting in poor export," said Sanjay Arya, who is considered as a big mango producer.
Arya's observations are backed by another mango producer Rajpal Singh who claims that damage to the crop due to sudden climatic changes had become a regular phenomenon.
"Even if we have good production, mango produced in this belt, fail to compete with varities produced in South India which include Totapari, Alphonso and Ratna. Demand of South Indian varities is higher in off shore markets due to quality and taste," Singh said.
As compared to mango, the producers claimed that litchi was more lucrative.
"As Saharanpur is very close to Dehradun, which is a litchi belt, climate here conducive for production of this juicy fruit," they claimed.
In the last eight years, new leetchi gardens have been planted on nearly 300 hectare area in the region.
Singh claimed that if situation remains the same, UP will beat Uttranchal in terms of litchi production and will be ranked second after Bihar, which is the largest producer of this fruit.
A senior scientists of the Central Institute of Sub-tropical Horticulture S Rajan and deputy director of horticulture department Nandmanilal Tripathi said that turning towards litchi production was more of a compulsion for the growers in the region.
"Litchi production is more profitable as compared to mango. Besides, excessive use of pesticides and insecticides has affected the quality and quanity of mango in the area," they said.
In fact senior scientist of CISH too are studying the changes in pattern of mango production in the area.
Publication date: 3/2/2009