The Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crops has decided to promote cultivation of mangoes under high density on 300 hectares in Vellore district under the National Horticulture Mission, with about 200 to 250 farmers participating in the programme.
Unlike the conventional method, where 100 plants are cultivated on one hectare, each plant growing into a big tall tree spreading its canopy across a wide area, the high-density method involves cultivation of 400 plants in a hectare, allowing a space of 2.5 metres between two proximate plants and five metres between two rows of plants.
Talking to reporters at Kalampet in K.V. Kuppam block, the venue of a district-level training programme in high density mango cultivation on Friday, H.K. Pandey, Assistant Director of Horticulture-in-charge, K.V. Kuppam, said that under the high density method, drip irrigation is adopted, the plants are pruned periodically and the tree allowed to grow only up to a height of seven feet, at which point of time the fruits are harvested. Thanks to the increased density of plants, the per hectare yield is expected to be 11 tonnes per hectare (ha) as against the average yield of five tonnes/ha obtained under the conventional method in Tamil Nadu. Under the ultra high density method, where 800 plants/ha are planted, a yield of 24 tonnes/ha is expected.
Mr. Pandey said that last year, about 20 farmers from K.V. Kuppam block were taken to the farm of the Jain Irrigation Systems in Udumalpet, which has supplied the drip irrigation system for farmers opting for high density mango cultivation, and where the method of high density mango cultivation is being adopted. Of them, 13 farmers opted for high density mango cultivation. Of these, six farmers opted for ultra high density cultivation. This year, 23 farmers have opted for high density cultivation in K.V. Kuppam block, including six who have opted for ultra high density cultivation.
Dasarathan, Area Manager, Jain Irrigation Systems, Vellore, demonstrated to the farmers the method of ‘drip fertigation,' under which fertilizers mixed with water are taken through a ‘ventury' pipe and fed into the pipelines and allowed to mix with the water used for drip irrigation. He also demonstrated to the farmers the method of pruning the plants to achieve high yield.Special Correspondent