Mango is often called the king of fruits; and no less a person than an emperor, that is , Akbar, was responsible for popularising the fruit through the setting up of orchards all over his empire, which covered a large part of what is now India. To give it a fitting tribute, a mango festival was organised from June 10 in Kolkata, followed by another, called Mango Mahotsav for three days from June 12. The former was organised by the state’s Food Processing Department and Horticulture Department, while the latter was organised by these two departments along with the Indian Chamber of Commerce.
Mango growers from all the districts participated in these feativals. Varieties from other states were also on display. Among the ones exhibited were Golapbhog, Ashwina, Himsagar, Bombai, Langra, Sukul, Ratna, Ambika, Champa, Alphonso, Suvarnarekha, Gaddamara, Chittur, Himamprasad (the previous four from Andhra Pradesh) and Totapuri (from Bengaluru).
The fairs were immensely successful, both from the growers’ point of view as well as from the consumers’ point of view. By participating in these festivals, many mango growers got access to wholesalers and other sellers whom they could sell their produce to. Participation from different states was an added attraction for them. There were exchanges of technical knowhow as well.
This year there has been a bumper production of the fruit in the state. Around 10 lakh tonnes has been produced. What’s more, mango has also been grown successfully in traditionally non-mango-growing districts like Purulia, Bankura and Paschim Medinipur, leading to a means of subsistence for marginal farmers. During the last four years, the efforts of the state government to help mango growers has resulted in a 25% increase in production.
All in all, it was an extremely successful time for all mango lovers – be it buyers or growers. The West Bengal government is also planning to bring in advanced packaging technology and better branding ideas to effectively market some of the best mangoes in India, which are the pride of Bengal, like Langra and Himsagar.
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