Muthalamada going organic way
Mango growers to float company
With yet another growing season is hardly four weeks away in Kerala’s mango city, Muthalamada, a large number of farmers here have started adopting the organic way in an all-out bid to shrug off the dubious legacy of the region as the toxic hub of the State where mango orchards use high-end pesticides.
Over 300 mango growers under Muthalamada Mango Farmers Association (MGFA) have taken the initiative to a say goodbye to pesticides and chemicals which not only erode the quality of mangoes but also hamper the export potentialities.
Now they are roping in experts from the State Agricultural Department and non-governmental organizations to develop organic alternatives to kill leaf mites and hoppers which attack mango trees during flowering season.
“We are in a do or die situation. We lost many export orders in the recent past because of the heavy use of pesticides and chemicals. An initiative is already on to float a company of mango farmers with former MLA K. Krishnankutty as the leader to grow and harvest pesticide-free mangoes apart from manufacturing value-added products interesting to international markets. We have also approached the State government seeking establishment of a mango research centre in Muthalamada with reputed scientists at the helm to guide us further in the organic way,” said V Mohan Kumar, general secretary of MGFA.
“I have conducted a training programme here last week in which mango farmers learnt how to develop enzymes using vegetable and fruit wastes. Mixing three kg of vegetable or fruit waste with 1 kg of black jaggery and 10 litres of water and keeping the mix for next 90 days would create enzyme for a normal plantation. Apart from being a killer of pests, it would also help growth of quality mangoes,’’ said S. Guruvayurappan, an environmentalist and expert in bio-fertilizers.
A set of farmers also started using ‘panchagavya’ comprising cow milk, curd, ghee, urine and dung to control pests.
Mr. Mohan Kumar said training sessions are also going on to ripen mangoes in the traditional way. The agriculture scientists are conducting soil tests to suggest organic alternatives to toxic fertilizers.