Alphsonso mangoes is now an important crop in the economy of Konkan region in Maharashtra. As the other crops, Mango crops is also a victim of ambitious profit making, various malpractices and of course chemical farming. This article focuses on various chemicals used by mango farmers/ cultivators and speaks on advantages-disadvantages of them.
1. To start with, lets start from Water. Mango plant does needs to be watered in all seasons for first three years, after which we don't need to water them much. A 15 days cycle of small amount of water is sufficient for the trees, then. To understand it correctly, in fact, excess water makes adverse effects on the mango fruit. It degrades the taste, and may cause rotting in the fruits while ripening.
2. The next one, and most controversial chemical is Coltar or Paclobutrazol. Essentially, Coltar is a hormone/ chemical, which nullifies the effect of Gibberellic Acid, which in turn triggers flowering in the trees. Gibberellic Acid is a growth hormone in the trees. This hormone is produced in the mango seeds and then stored in the stems. Coltar counters the stored Gibberellic Acid from the tree, which forces the tree to lower again. In a nutshell, Coltar is not a harmful chemical, but its uncontrolled use can cause permanent damages to the tree. mankind is not affected by this chemical in any fashion.
3. Chemical Fertilizers is the next chemical, Those are many, and can contain any NPK combinations. Chemical fertilizers are known to provide better growth to the tree, better flowering, but lesser Immunity and Taste. We strictly recommend using Organic fertilizers over inorganic.
4. Carbide is a well-known hazardous chemical that is used for mango riping. Mangoes that come to market are ripen with carbide and get onto sale on next day. Carbide has various ill effects on human body, and thus one should never go for carbide ripen mango. Carbide ripen mangoes usually look tempting from outside, but they are sour from inside.
5. Ethylene is a better alternative. Its again a hormone in the fruits that helps ripening. providing this hormone externally speeds up the ripening process, and preserves the taste. Its safe to use to humans, and most of the mango pulp manufacturers use etharel(A brand name of Ethylene) as a ripening agent. Its also used sometimes for retail use as well.
6. Last but not least is various pesticides. Pesticides are of course hazardous to human health, and their residue in the fruits can cause seriuos effects on mankind. It is observed that pesticide residues are found in the fruit for ~20 days after their use. So for safe practice, the use of pesticides should be stopped before 20 days of harvesting.
when discussed with the representative of shreemango.com, he said that use of chemicals in alphonso cultivation is like a double edged sword. If used judiciously, it can be very effective and helpful. But a non judicious use of if will ruin you crop, reputation and may cost you you plantation as well.