Kerala

Mangoes take over Chittur paddy farms

Muthalamada, Kollengode, Elavanchery, Pattanchery see the crop shift

Mango cultivation in Muthalamada and neighbouring panchayats in the district has expanded in recent times. The expansion has been so rapid that large areas of paddy farms have begun to give way for mango cultivation.

Mango farmers of Muthalamada have reportedly used the support and perks offered by the government to such an extent that ecology watchers and paddy promoters find fault with it.

Mango saplings were seen planted amid paddy crops in some places in Muthalamada. It will most likely be the last paddy crop as the mango saplings will grow in size and will begin to give yield in less than four years. With young trees at a fixed distance providing shade, paddy cultivation will be difficult.

“Besides, paddy cultivation requires a lot of effort and care. That’s why some people are turning to mango cultivation,” said P.K. Abdul Rahman, one of the leading mango growers in Muthalamada.

Agriculture Department officials pointed out that several hundreds of acres of paddy land were being converted into mango farms in Muthalamada, Kollengode, Elavanchery and Pattanchery grama panchayats.

Special scheme

These panchayats in Chittur taluk are covered under a ₹7-crore government special scheme to boost mango farming. The Central government is funding the scheme titled Muthalamada Mango Package.

However, paddy promoters allege that mango cultivation in paddy fields will change the nature of the land, depriving the land of its water storage capacity and adversely affecting the ecology.

They also allege that the Agriculture Department has turned a blind eye on the crop shift.

Muthalamada mangoes enjoy a special name in the country as they hit the market ahead of mangoes from other States. “Although we don’t have a GI tag, Muthalamada mango deserves special attention. It is being viewed as a superior product in the major mango markets in the country,” said Muthalamada Mango Farmers Welfare Association secretary Arumugham.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:27:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/mangoes-take-over-chittur-paddy-farms/article30090770.ece

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