The Margao zonal agriculture officer (ZAO), Mr Sandeep Faldessai, has claimed that every possible measure is being taken to boost mango plantation in Salcete. He said that mango crop is in the flowering stage and the produce is expected by April.
He said that many people of Salcete are engaged in mango cultivation for many decades adding that paddy is the major agricultural produce followed by cashew, mango and coconut, which are also grown in abundance.
Mr Faldessai said that cultivation of paddy and other crops like mangoes and cashews has not suffered in Salcete taluka, consisting of sixty-six villages and said that government schemes and incentives are adequate.
He said that agriculture department gives all kinds of assistance and make available schemes to produce various crops.
He said that mango trees in some parts of Salcete are in the flowering stages, while in most parts of Salcete, one can already see the mango fruit in its young life and proceeding towards the maturity stage.
He said the fruit should be in the market by the end of April or early May. He said that this year mango crop will be a little later than expected.
Mr Faldessai said that unseasonal rain which lashed Salcete a couple days back, will not affect the crop and in case of major damage inspection will be carried out and appropriate decision will be taken.
He said that old mango plantations are mostly in villages of coastal belt like Colva, Benaulim, Majorda and Varca, where the flowering is at a satisfactory stage. He said that new plantation of mango is encouraged and saplings and plantation material is given, along with fertilizer. He also said that a part of the cost of plantation is borne by the government. He said that presently, thousands of hectares of land in Salcete is covered under mango plantation.
A farmer from Macazana said that that the government must ensure that the farming related incentives reach the true beneficiaries. “At present we don’t even produce half the mango crops which we once used to. It is a result of rapid urbanisation resulting in decrease in agricultural land,” he said.
The mango fruit is used, both, in its immature and mature state. The raw fruit is used for making chutneys, pickles and is also dried to be used in curries and other dish preparations.
The ripe fruit is eaten and is also used in deserts, juices and ice creams and milkshakes.
Mr Faldessai rubbished claims that farmers are abandoning mango and cashew farming in Salcete. He said that large areas in Nuvem, Verna, Veroda, Betul and Curtorim are presently under mango cultivation. Mr Faldessai said besides these places mango is also farmed in Chinchinim, Betalbatim, Cansaulim, Benaulim and Velsao. He said that besides Sindu, Neelam and Totapuri, mangoes varieties like Xavier, Alfonsa and Mussarade are also grown in Salcete.
According to him, the mango fruit can be grown under both tropical and sub-tropical climatic conditions.
“Places with good rainfall and dry summer are ideal for mango cultivation,” he said adding that one should avoid areas with winds and cyclones “There is good scope for increasing the crop of mankurad as it has good market value,” he said. [NT]