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A plan to protect mangoes in Bihar

Bihar govt plans to increase crops of mango varieties from seeds

A plate of peeled mangoes. (Photo: Div Manickam, Unsplash)
A plate of peeled mangoes. (Photo: Div Manickam, Unsplash)

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Concerned with the sharp decline in the farming of seedling mangoes in certain districts of Bihar, the state government has decided to conduct a study and formulate a conservation plan for increasing crops of a variety of mangoes such as Jardalu, Gulab Khaas, Aamrapali and Chausa from seeds.

The Bihar State Biodiversity Board (BSBB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lucknow-based ICAR-Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture (CISH) for the 'evaluation of diversity and decline of indigenous seedling mangoes of Bihar and study for its conservation strategy’.

“The study to find out reasons for the decline of indigenous seedling mangoes of Bihar and further formulate a conservation plan will start next month. The study is expected to be completed within a year and after that, the authorities concerned will formulate a conservation plan,” BSBB Secretary K Ganesh Kumar told PTI.

Bihar is known for its wide variety of mangoes which include Digha Maldah, Jardalu, Gulab Khaas, Aamrapali, Kishen Bhog and Chausa and among these, Jardalu has been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

Bihar ranks fourth in the list of mango-producing states, sharing more than eight per cent of the total production in the country. The top state in the list is Uttar Pradesh, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, according to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, a government of India agency.

The BSBB secretary said, “The study will be conducted in at least 25 districts. It will focus on crop improvement and post-harvest processing.”

The study will also provide the state with the exact data on decline in the farming of seedling mangoes.

The total target area for mango cultivation is 38,015 acres under the Bagicha Bachao Abhiyaan (Save Orchard campaign) launched by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in May 2012.

“Emphasis is laid on the adoption of scientific methods in horticultural activities. Fruit-bearing trees are cultivated and grown in accordance with their area-specific quality and value. The government also gives subsidies to farmers for the tilling and ploughing of orchard land,” said another official of the Environment, Forest and Climate Change department of the state government.

“Jardalu variety of mango, which is mainly grown in Bhagalpur district, and the Dudhiya variety of Malda mango of Digha in Patna, are not just sold in different parts of India, but also exported to other countries,” he said.

The study will be conducted in districts like Saran, Siwan, Gopalganj, East Champaran, West Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Sitamarhgi, Sheohar, Bhagalpur, Banka, Katihar, Madhepura, Supaulk, Kishanganj, Purnea, Patna, Buxar, Ara, Munger, Jamui and Shekhpura.

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