Modern orchard management practice to double mangoes productivity.

MULTAN -- The culturally rich region of south Punjab, also known as "Kingdom of Mango", is worldwide popular from European to Middle Eastern countries for the exotic flavor and aroma of its unique mango production.

A large number of mango trees is visible on a vast landscape almost in every field from Multan to Muzaffargarh and Khanewal to Rahim Yar Khan. Mango orchards are located over thousands of acres in the region - Multan is on top in the cultivation of the fruits as it has over 31,000 hectares of land covered with the mango trees. Similarly, Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh and Khanewal are second, third and fourth position with cultivation areas 26,000, 19,000 and 14,000 hectares respectively.

Among hundreds of varieties of mangoes, only 25 to 30 are being cultivated on commercial scale. The varieties included Chaunsa, Sindhri, Langra, Dausehri, Anwar Ratool, Saroli, Samar Bahisht, Toota Pari, Fajri, Neelum, Alphanso, Almas, Sanwal, Surkha, Sunera and Desi.

Talking to REPORTER, a well known mango grower, Shahid Hameed Bhutta said that Pakistan produces about 1.8 million tons of mangoes annually which could further be enhanced by employing different interventions such as modern technology and awareness among the mango growers. He said, 'High cost of inputs, especially fertilizers, pesticides, electricity bills and climate changes are the main reasons behind low production'. The government should ensure easy availability of cheap inputs to mango growers for maximum production, he added. He said, 'An average, the growers are getting 12 tons mangoes/hectare, which could be enhanced to 20 tons by focusing on modern orchard management practices'.

Another mango grower Laique Sheikhan from Nawabpur village stated that majority of the growers were very much poor and they could not afford expenses on proper management of orchards including application of fertilizers, pruning and suitable inter-cropping combinations etc. He said, 'The growers also lack awareness about modern techniques and use of balanced fertilizer'.

He said that production, quality, shape and size of mangoes could be improved, adding potassium was costly fertilizers and the growers ignored its application which resulted into low production. The growers did not know about proper time for irrigation for orchards, he hinted.

Pakistani mangoes are matchless in taste and aroma and the fruit export can bring a handsome amount of foreign exchange to national kitty. Shikhina observed...

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