India is a fruit loving country, especially mangoes. The country produces a lot of it as well, and is the highest mango producing country in the world. Nearly 1.75 lakh metric tonne this year. Despite that, India’s yields are still among the lowest in the world. It is still behind countries such as Bangladesh, Brazil and Pakistan in per acre productivity.
Old cultivation techniques, lack of use of technology, and lack of training and exposure, have kept output way behind other mango producing countries. However, there has been a gradual adoption of newer techniques that have aided the improvement in the yield of production. One of them is “Ultra High Density Plantation,” also called UHDP, which is especially helpful in increasing the productivity at mango plantations in numerous ways.
By taking a different approach to the plantation and cultivation of mangoes, several farmers have managed to significantly change their fortunes with improved yields. UHDP is now being seen as the perfect solution for mango farmers, with several benefits.
Increased plant density per hectare: In traditional modes of mango plantation, the trees would be planted at large distances, and the average density of plants would remain at 100 trees per hectare. Under the UHDP method the gaps between the trees is reduced to around three metres, increasing the density to 1666 trees per hectare. This has especially worked in Indian farmlands, which are smaller in size compared to other countries.
Reduction in water and land usage: With the knowledge gained under the UHDP method, farmers are taught to make use of drip irrigation, instead of flood irrigation. Through this method they use reduced amounts of water for cultivation, and are able to make better use of the small land holdings. As a responsible company,
Shorter gestation period: Along with the reduction of spacing, pruning is done for all the plants as one of the methods under UHDP. Pruning helps in containing the height of the plants, and contains the canopy height to a maximum of about 6 to 7 feet. Pruning, along with the creation of environment conducive for fruition results in faster yields of fruits for every tree, resulting in gestation period being brought down to 3 to 5 years, from 8 years in traditional cultivation.
Increased yield: Pruning not only helps in better plucking and reduced wastage of the crop, but along with drip irrigation, smaller canopies, the entire plant becomes more productive throughout its lifetime. Add to that the lesser gaps that are maintained between the trees, yields could grow, and even double in quantity for a single crop for a farmer.
Improved quality of fruits: With the help of newer technologies such as organic and water soluble fertilisers, which are used through drip irrigation are able to maximise inputs more effectively, hence improving the quality of the yield. Additionally, due to the reduced height, and easy accessibility, maintaining quality and harvesting of the fruits will become much easier, compared to the traditional techniques where waste was rampant during harvesting.
As the usage of UHDP expands, farmers are bound to benefit by providing a better quality of yield, in more quantities, and hence be able to maintain a better standard of living.