Farmers were earlier unable to grow the mango crops across the coastal belt as the salinity of the soil and sea often caused the loss of sweetness in the fruit. The adoption of the technology has resulted in the creation of two new varieties of Mangoes in India and an overall increase in the production of the Kesar variety of mangoes.
Using Israel expertise, farmers would now be able to grow mangoes even in the coastal belt and get more fruit per acre. What's more, two new varieties of mango trees grown using this horticulture technology would be resistant to salinity, less susceptible to strong winds that damage the fruits even while retaining the same sweetness.
The horticulture department of the state government has developed 200 saplings by grafting the salt-resistant root stock of Israeli mangoes with the Talala kesar at the Centre of Excellence for Mangoes set up in Talala under the Indo-Israel collaboration programme. The experiment has been going on since last two years and is likely to yield results soon. "The new variety will help farmers cultivate mangoes in places where ground water has become saline," Dr R A Sherasiya, state director of horticulture.
Another variety that is being experimented is dwarf mango trees using the root-stock brought from Israel. "Mango trees grown with this technology require less spacing between two trees and bears fruit early. For traditional kesar mango, we need to plant saplings at 10m distance from each other. The dwarf variety will require a spacing of just 5m, thereby enabling farmers to grow more trees," said Sherasiya.
Assistant director horticulture, Talala, A M Karmur said trial with Israeli varieties has shown good results."The two new varieties will aid cultivation of kesar mangoes in coastal area. Also, farmers will be able to plant more trees per acre if dwarf variety is used. This means the production per acre would increase," said Karmur.
The luscious kesar largely grown around the foothills of Girnar mountains in Junagadh has got global recognition as `Gir kesar' mango after receiving the geographical indication tag. Kesar is the second variety of mango in India to get GI tag after the Dussheri variety grown in UP.
In 2015-16, mango production in Gujarat was 12.41 lakh tonne, of which nearly 2 lakh tonne was estimated to be of kesar mangoes grown in Junagadh, GirSomnath and Amreli districts.