Introduction and importance
Mango (Mangifera indica L Family Anacardiaceae) is the second major fruit crop in Pakistan. At present it is grown on an area of 93.42 thousand hectares with production 915.7 thousand tonnes Table-1. The area under mango crop has increased but the rise in production is comparatively slow. The main mango growing districts in the Punjab province are Multan, Bahawalpur, Muzzaffargarh and Rahim yar Khan. In the province of Sindh it is mainly grown in Mir pur Khas, Hyderabad and Thatta in the province of NWFP it is grown in Peshawar and Mardan. The climate of Sindh gets warmer about one month earlier than the Punjab which has given the province the privilege to grow early varieties of mango. Subsequently, a new trend of growing late varieties in Punjab has received a wide popularity which has extended the market period and added to the exportable surplus.
This delicious fruit is nutritionally superior, source of several vitamins and minerals. Pakistan produces 5.86 percent world’s mangoes being the third largest producer. Its export is progressing resulting into substantial foreign exchange earnings. Mango export including Middle East has also found its way to the UK and other European markets. It is believed that the demand would rise to as high as 50 percent given the right impetus and expanding the export to Germany, Japan China and Hong Kong.
Climate and Soil
The ecological conditions suitable for mango cultivation are :
- Elevations ranging from 200 to 300 meters.
- Suitable temperature range is 15 to 40oC. Low temperatures are extremely harmful. Frosts and hot winds cause great damage to the trees. Young plants need protection against frost and hot winds.
- A hot and humid climate is suitable. In areas with heavy rainfall, the quality of fruit may be affected.
- Mango can be grown in a wide range of soils but well drained, deep and fertile soils are most suitable. Salt affected soil is not good for its cultivation.
- Propagation is done by various means of grafting on local seedlings.
- Suitable age of nursery plant for transplanting 1.5 to 2.0 year
- Time for transplanting:
- In spring: Feb/March
- In Autumn: Sept/Oct
- Time to start of bearing: 4-5 years
- Time to full bearing: 6-7 years
- Normal economic bearing life: 30-50 years
- Time of flowering: Feb/Mar
Leading Commercial varieties:
- Sindh: Sindhri, Gulabkhas, Swarnarice, Baganpalli, Collector, Neelum
- Punjab: Malda, Langra, Aman Duseri, Anwar Ratol, Samer Bahisht, Fajri Kalan and Sensation.
- NWFP: Lengra and Samer Bahisht
- Baluchistan: Sindhri and Banganpalli
- Annual Crop Water Demand:500-750 mm
- Irrigation intervals:
- Young plants : 7 days
- Mature trees in winter: 15-20 days
- Mature trees in summer: 8-10 days
- Apply farm yard manure at the rate of 10-30 kg per young plant and 80 to 100 kg per full grown tree.
- Apply 3-4 kg SSP, 2-3 kg Potassium Sulphate and 2-3 kg Urea before flowering (Dec to Jan).
- Apply a further 2-3 kg Urea after fruit setting in two equal doses (Mar/Apr).
Mango usually assumes a graceful dome shape shading the main trunk. No pruning is practiced however, annually after fruit harvest diseased, dried, broken branches and those touching the ground should be pruned off. To rejuvenate the orchard after every 3-4 years it is advisable that 15-20% of old wood should be removed.
Picking should be done when the fruit is fully developed and mature. Natural drop of the fruit is the main indication that the fruit is ready for picking. Different varieties in different areas ripe at different times. In Sindh, mango varieties start ripening from May to June. In Punjab ripening starts from June and continues up to mid-August. In NWFP, the harvest is a later which helps to extend the period that mangoes are available. Expected yields vary from 40 to 100 kg per tree.