Agriculture World

Why Farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Famous Mango Belt Looking for Crop Diversification?

mango belt

In the famous mango belt of Uttar Pradesh, low landholdings and farm distress is forcing farmers to look for crop diversification. Let’s know about it in detail.

Not all of them but a few farmers are very much inspired by an ex- Panchayat Pradhan who turned to floriculture in the Datli village of Malihabad, which is around 30 km from Lucknow.

The former pradhan of Khadta Gram Panchayat, Rakesh Bahadur Singh has a mango farm on around 10 bigha of land in his village. Three years back, in 2016, he planned for a polyhouse amid suggestions from locals to not cut some ageing and new mango trees. He said, “I cleared nearly half an acre land to begin with protected cultivation of flowers”.

Polyhouse farming is basically a method of protected cultivation. It is a kind of greenhouse farming where the temperature is maintained within a covered structure to yield crops all round the year. A polyethylene plastic sheet is used to wrap the structure of bamboo. In that protected environment, flowers and vegetables are grown. This type of farming is very beneficial to farmers as they can grow season vegetable that fetch good prices.

Previously there were naturally ventilated polyhouses and now motorised screens & ventilators are also obtainable. In a polyhouse, crops or plants are grown in a restricted temperature to ensure less crop loss.

Singh said, “A person can earn Rs.1 to Rs. 2 lakh by constructing a small polyhouse of around 250 sq metres”. He added that “Weather is not a concern for floriculture in a protected atmosphere. Besides, one has to put all effort in a small unit instead of the whole farm.”

polyhouse

He also told that “I have a polyhouse in half an acre & income from this is equal to what my entire mango farm of ten bigha yields”.

Arjit Kumar, pradhan of Khadta Gram Panchayat said, “Nearly 6 to 7 farmers’ have now applied for a polyhouse to do protected cultivation of flowers & vegetables”.

He said Rakesh Bahadur Singh’s floriculture business is an inspiration for many farmers, who mustered the courage to spend some money & land.

Mango production has been unpredictable over the years, especially owing to the vagaries of weather and depleting water level. A farmer of Ataura village of Malihabad, who has less than 1 bigha of land  sais, “Last year, mango crop was less as gusty winds caused fruit drop adding that mango cultivation is completely dependent on God. All is fine if it rains timely and weather remains pleasant.

Ram Rattan, another farmer of Khadta village, who has applied for polyhouse told that “The former pradhan has been earning profit out of it hence we must also try as the government helps in setting up a polyhouse.”

Locals in the village have around 1 bigha landholding on an average and a large number of them have less than a bigha of land.

Suraj Kumar, a cultivator with 1 bigha landholding said, “Farmers ought to look beyond the traditional practices. Previously mango trees were planted anywhere & needed less water but now you require proper irrigation. Water level is depleting and in future, risk in normal farming will increase. Hece protected farming is a substitute as we do not have dearth of markets – Malihabad, Unnao and Lucknow.”



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