P. Allimuttu, a Tamil Nadu farmer, grows 28 varieties of mangoes on a single tree! He now teaches others in his village to improve quality
Ever seen a mango tree laden with the golden-colored Alphonso on one branch, the reddish-tinged Sindura on another, the green-colored Langra on the third and so on?
If you think this is impossible, then P. Allimuttu, a 60-year-old farmer from the Nammakal district of Tamil Nadu, begs to differ. He has grafted 28 varieties of mangoes on a single tree!
|Besides imparting free grafting training to farmers, |
Allimuthu also sells hybrid seedlings of mango, amla, sapota, guava, jackfruit and jamun for Rs 50
Allimuttu is no botanist by profession—in fact he is educated only up to the sixth grade. However, his love for agriculture and experimentation has resulted in a hybrid mango tree that blooms different varieties of mangoes throughout the year. Some of the varieties on his mango tree are Alphonso, Selam, Mangloora, Imam Pasand, Banganapalli, Malgoa, Bangalora, Neelum, Sindhura, Sujata, Nadichella, Sind, Ratna, Mallika and Neelisa.
Grafting is used extensively in agriculture wherein tissues of two plants are fused together for varied purposes such as creation of hybrid varieties. “Grafting is done on trees that are generally low-yielding or do not produce good quality fruits,” says Sriram, Allimuthu’s son. He adds, “A few years back, under a local government scheme, several mango trees were distributed among farmers. However, poor quality of produce haunted farmers for years.” But things are changing slowly now, with more and more farmers taking to grafting to yield better varieties.
How is grafting done?
“A mango tree that grows from the seed generally flowers after four to five years. It keeps on giving fruits for 15 years, after which a gap is generally given for a few years before it starts to bear fruits again. But in case of a grafted tree, it starts bearing good quality fruits from the next year onwards,” explains Sriram. For grafting, Alimuttu took a mango tree that was four years old and cut it off leaving a four feet stub. This is also called the root stock. When the new branches started coming out from that stub, it was grafted with other varieties (also called scion) of mangoes.
Sriram says, “A ‘V’ is carved out on the surface of the root stock, to which the scion cut in the shape of the inverted ‘V’ is fixed. The joint is tightly wrapped with a plastic. After a few days, both the plants join together to form a single hybrid plant.”
So do the fruits of such hybrid plants have different characteristics? Sriram says that this is generally not the case. “This is because the role of mother plant [the root stock] is just to take nutrients from the soil and pass it on to the other parts of the plant. However, the fruits from a grafted plant are better in quality than the ones grown from seeds.” The grafted tree grows like any other mango tree and does not require any special care. Sriram says, “As every variety of mango has a different blooming season, our mango tree produces fruits throughout the year.” It starts from the Sindura that blooms during January to the Neelam that blooms the last till September. Besides mango, Alimuttu has also experimented with other plants like amla (Indian gooseberry). He says, “My father has grafted seven varieties on to an amla tree.”
As the fruits of the grafted tree are better in quality, they fetch a higher price. Sriram says, “The fruits from the hybrid plant can fetch anywhere between Rs 50 and Rs 90 per kg in the market. Whereas, the local variety will fetch only Rs 8 to Rs 10 depending on the quality of the mangoes. Moreover, during the off season, the prices double.” Most of his produce is sold in other states. He is also trying to enter the export market.
Alimuttu also helps other farmers in grafting trees. In a year they graft almost 7,000 to 9,000 trees. Sriram says, “We also give training for grafting, cutting, pruning etc. The University of Coimbatore recommends farmers, students to us who come to us for training. We teach them free of cost.” Till date, almost 200 farmers have benefited from Allimuthu’s training.
Allimuthu also sells seedlings of mango, amla, sapota, guava, jackfruit and jamun for Rs 50. He says, “We have the 20- to 21-year-old mother plant ready for grafting. We take scions from it and graft it into the rootstocks. We sell the sapling for Rs 50.” When asked when will these saplings start bearing fruits, he says, ”The mango tree, for instance, will start blooming from next year. It will produce three to four varieties of fruits.” Sriram adds, “We supply farmers with hybrid seedlings under a scheme of the Nation Horticulture Mission. We sell seedlings almost worth Rs 2 lakh per year to farmers under the scheme.”
written by Chris, January 04, 2010
written by Chris, January 04, 2010
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