Malnad's 'midi' mangoes find safe home in BU

Gene pool to be set up to protect endangered varieties


Tender mangoes, known for their pickles, have become a part of the lives of people in Uttara Kannada. But indiscriminate harvesting of the tender ones has brought many of them to the brink of extinction. Before the situation gets worse, the DES has stepped in to establish a gene pool of these rare and endangered variety, with the help of farmers and biodiversity experts from Uttara Kannada.

Over a thousand saplings of 102 varieties of rare mangoes collected by some of the farmers are now in the University campus, planted and nurtured by the DES.

“It will be a field gene bank. We brought these saplings last year. We are just supporting them in protection,” said Dr Nandini, Professor, DES.

Environmentalist A N Yellappa Reddy, who had initiated the programme said that the Environment Trust of India has funded the project and the saplings were raised by about 60 farmers from Uttara Kannada.

He said that these ‘Appe midis’ (tender mangoes) known for their tasty pickles need to be protected considering their rarity. “We want to develop high yielding varieties of them,” he said.

Shivananda Kalve, the biodiversity expert from Kalve near Sirsi, who was instrumental for collection of these species said that these plants have been collected with great difficulty from various parts of Uttara Kannada and are unique by themselves.

Pointing out that the economic benefit of these plants have sustained thousands of families in the district, Kalve said that these rare wild varieties are named after the places or rivers, where they are found. “Names like Ane hondada appe, Nagarakan appe, Badrahalli appe, which are nothing but the names of the places where it is found,” he said.

The Malaji appe, one of the varieties is good for pickle, Sondha hole appe, found along the river bed of Sondha river is rich in oil content, while Nandgar is unseasonal as it starts providing yields during Ganesh Chaturthi. Expressing doubts whether they can be developed into high yielding varieties, Kalve  appreciated the Bangalore University’s effort to protect and popularise ‘Appe midi’.

Region of origin

He however added that it would have been better if these sapling were protected in the Malnad region where they originated from. Dr Nandini said that the department is now focussing on further research like genetic mapping, assessing its morphological characters and its nutrient qualities.

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