MULTAN: Despite cutting of mango orchards for residential purposes in suburban areas of South Punjab, the cultivation area of mangoes is on the rise.
This was said by Mango Research Station (MRS) Incharge Abdul Ghaffar Grewal on Sunday.
He said, “In the past, mango growers were not taking keen interest in improving mango cultivation but now they are enhancing cultivation areas as they are earning handsome amount by exporting this fruit.”
According to official statictics, mango orchards were located at an area of 117,000 hectares in the province during the year 2011-12 while the cultivation area increased to 180,000 hectares in 2015-16. “The mango crop is turning into an industry and offering handsome returns to the growers,” he added.
To a query about enhanced area of mango, the MRS incharge said that different programmes, including Australia Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Programme, USAID, and Punjab agriculture department provided the much needed facilitation for quality fruit, imparted training to growers on managing orchards and follow export standards.
He maintained, “The income of growers has increased manifold and this is the basic reason behind increase in cultivation area.”
The expert pointed out that millions of mango plants were being planted annually in South Punjab. He said that there were over 35 mango nurseries in Multan, adding that almost every nursery sells more than 50,000 plants during the season.
Besides, he said the MRI was also providing nursery to the growers.
He said, “I know over 100 progressive growers who have enhanced mango cultivation remarkably. The future of mango crop is bright.” Grewal said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will enhance export of mangoes while Pakistani growers will find large space in international markets.
Earlier, intense heat damaged mango crop in Multan triggering apprehensions of lower yield among the farmers of the region. Several farmers feared a dip in prices.
The ideal temperature for mangoes is between 32 degrees Celsius and 34 degrees Celsius, however, in most parts of Multan District, the mercury rose above 40 degrees Celsius in April. Though temperatures dipped a bit they continued to be on the higher side.
Experts said mangoes start falling off trees due to high temperatures and also develop spots on skin. They said the worst of them is a disorder called spongy tissue. It is a ripening disorder, which dries out the mango from inside, leaving a white dry mass.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2017.
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