Reliance grows dwarf, exotic varieties of mango in Gujarat
Ahmedabad, Mar 26: Over one lakh mango saplings, planted by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on 200 hectares orchard in semi-arid Gujarat close to its refinery and petrochemical complex at Jamnagar, have started bearing fruits.
Started around the same time when the foundation stone for the 27 million tonnes per annum refinery was laid a decade ago, the orchard yielded 346 tonnes of mango in 2004 and 350 tonnes in 2005. This year's crop is yet to be assessed.
When contacted, RIL Group President (Corporate Affairs) Parimal Nathwani told UNI when all the trees would grow to full height they are likely to yield 1,800 tonnes of mango in normal years and 3,500 tonnes during peak years after 2010. Mango yield is known to vary in cyclic order.
While the average yield of mango the world over is 3.5 tonnes per ha, it is 2.64 tonnes in India, 4.8 tonnes in the Gangetic plains in north India, 2.82 tonnes in Gujarat and is projected to be 9-18 tonnes per ha at RIL-Jamnagar.
RIL has ventured into growing mango in adverse hot and dry, arid subtropical marine area with scanty annual average rainfall of 300 mm (12 inches) with strong dry winds. The soil too is substantial saline and shallow with high pH and no perennial irrigation source, he said.
With a view to beating adverse agro-climatic condition, Mr Nathwani said, the horticulturists of Reliance have gone for high-density plantation, 660 to 830 trees per hectare.
The problem of scarce water has been solved with drip irrigation, liquid fertilizers and integrated pest management with paclobutrazol. It is backed by modern harvesting, post-harvesting care and an automatic gradation unit.