Panchayat with 200 varieties of mango trees in Kerala declared Indigenous Mango Heritage Area

Last Updated 26 July 2020, 12:25 IST

An initiative by a group of mango lovers to protect a 200 year old mango tree a few years back has led the way to the declaration of Kannapuram, a panchayat about 15 kilometres from Kannur town, as Indigenous Mango Heritage Area owing to the presence of over 200 varieties of mango trees in the locality.

'Nattu Manchottil', a group of mango lovers of the locality, has made the declaration possible, which is said to be the first of its type in the country.

As many as 107 varieties of mango trees were spotted among the 372 mango trees in just 20 out of the 61 houses in the heritage area and a mapping of the trees has been done. Over 200 varieties were found in the entire panchayat, said Shyju Machathi, a local farmer who has been coordinating these initiatives.

The Kerala State Biodiversity Board identified the area as heritage zone in coordination with the Kannapuram grama panchayat. Local MLA T V Rajesh made the declaration on July 22, the national mango day. A Heritage Walk in association with the state responsible tourism mission connecting ten spots and spreading indigenous mango trees to more parts of the state in association with the Haritha Kerala Mission of the state are in the offing. A study on medical values of each variety is also being planned in the long run.

Shyju said that though mango trees were common in the locality traditionally, efforts to trace the varieties started around five years back after a 200 year old mango tree of 'Vellathan' variety was cut by the landlord. A group of mango lovers collected the pieces of the tree and grafted it to retain the variety. That triggered identification of different varieties in the locality.

Specimen of 102 varieties were already given to the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources for documentation purpose. Names of the mangoes were given by the local people based on is features like taste, shape and size. Annual mango fests are also being organised.

The local farmers were not having much commercial interest in mango as most of them were involved in other types of cultivation. A major chuck of the yield was used for personal consumption. As part of the heritage area declaration, nurseries would be set up at each household for selling the sapling of the varieties available at the house hold, said Shyju, who is personal securuty officer of Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja.

(Published 26 July 2020, 12:05 IST)

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