First a noted tourist spot with a variety of forest products available, then a coffee plantation area with its organic variety gaining fame overseas and now a major mango growing area. That is what the Araku Valley ensconced in the Eastern Ghats running through the district, is ought to become famous for, with a non-governmental organisation all set to launch the project through its bio-dynamic farm practice.
“This is the largest bio-dynamic plot in the world, spread over 25,000 acres, and nowhere this sort of topography is seen. More than 2,000 Girijan families here are cultivating coffee in the biodynamic method and getting very good results and much better income. We are encouraging them to grow mango trees, Banginapalli variety, and the results would be good. Seven lakh mango saplings have been planted during the last three years”, CEO of Naandi Foundation Manoj Kumar said.
Conservative estimates put the yield for this year at 200 tonnes, it will go up to 1000 tonnes next year and by fifth year it would touch 40,000 tonnes, Mr. Manoj Kumar told The Hindu at Thuraiguda, where the Gems of Araku coffee festival was held.
In the biodynamic agriculture 20 to 30 varieties of organic substances are used and some of them are bark of trees, bat urine, spiders, etc. Biodynamic crops are of good quality and its taste goes up while the quality of soil improves. The world is recognising the value of biodynamic farm produce, he said and believes that this is the answer to farming and not the chemical fertilizers or GM.
Mahindra and Mahindra Company and Global Livelihood Fund of a group of European companies are funding the plantation.
The Naandi CEO also finds it is tough to sell mangoes than coffee and the task could be easier if the Government could provide facilities like mini cold storage plants, grading facilities, godowns, etc.
With Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu adopting a village near Araku Valley for development, a lot of improvement could be expected.
NGO encouraging tribal people of the tourist paradise, also known for forest produce and coffee plantations, to grow mangoes
G. Narasimha Rao