By Avijit Biswas
Bhagalpur: There is some good news for mango lovers. This region is heading for bumper mango production this season. As per assessment of mango growers if weather conditions remain congenial for fruit crop during next fortnight, the production figure this season is likely to surpass average production figure of last few years.
Comprised by Banka, Munger, Bhagalpur and other adjoining districts this region has major share in total mango production of state. As per official figure on an average mango production in this region is approximately 76000 tones. Total production this season is expected to be much higher than average production.
Of all the varieties, the luscious Jardalu an exclusive produce of this region is one of the most sort after varieties. The production of Jardalu could also register new high this season provided weather conditions remain favourable for mango crop in coming days.
As per Ashok Choudhury, president of Bhagalpuri Jardalu Aam Utpadak Sangh total production of mango in this district alone is expected to be more than two lakh quintals this season. Production of Jardalu is expected to exceed 25000 quintal he said adding production of Malda yet another delicious mango variety is expected to be more than one lakh quintal.
With likely bumper production, enabling growers reap the benefits of high production could be major challenge for stakeholders. Facilitating exploitation of demand of mangoes particularly Jardalu in both domestic and overseas market in an organized way it is largely felt by growers would be essential to ensure they stand benefitted of high production.
After GI certification of Jardalu in 2018 efforts were stepped up for proper branding and marketing of the variety having distinct aroma and taste. District administration, Bihar Agricultural University (BAU), Sabour, concerned government departments and agencies besides Bhagalpuri Jardalu Aam Utpadak Sangh are involved in ensuring distinct market identity for exclusive produce of this region.
However, it is largely felt the efforts initiated in this direction are yet to yield desired result. Lack of concerted efforts by all concerned it is felt is primary reason attaining goal of establishing distinct identity of Jardalu in both domestic and foreign market has not been possible yet despite GI certification of the variety. Due to infrastructural deficiencies related to storage, packaging and grading at local level it is further felt growers are unable to exploit market potential of Jardalu to the desired extent. As per unofficial information nearly ninety percent of total Jardalu produce is presently sold in local market.
Vikas Kumar, District Horticulture Officer (DHO), contacted by View 19.in on likely bumper mango production in this region confirmed prospect of mango crop has remained highly encouraging so far. As per a rough estimate generally production of Jardalu is 25% to 30% of total mango produce of this region, he informed.
DHO said number of measures have been decided by local administration and agriculture department besides other stakeholders this season particularly for branding and marketing of Jardalu. Informing work is already underway for overcoming infrastructural deficiencies he said two packhouses are coming up respectively in Jagdishpur and Sahkund blocks of this district. The results of initiatives being taken for branding and exploiting market potentials of Jardalu is likely to be more visible from next season, DHO added.
Dr Ajoy Kumar Singh, former Vice Chancellor (VC) of Bihar Agricultural University (BAU) said a more pro-active role of Bhagalpuri Jardalu Aam Utpadak Sangh could prove useful in commercially promoting Jardalu. He was of the opinion for distinct market identity of Jardalu it is essential variety is consistently available in domestic market during season.
For this greater attention is needed on maintaining supply chain the former VC said. Laying thrust on varietal purification he added ensuring availability of true to the type Jardalu would help in commercially promoting the variety in both domestic and foreign market.
Gaps between planning and implementation at different levels also needs to be filled up for making efforts of branding and marketing Jardalu more result oriented, the former VC said. Total 700 hectare it may be mentioned has been demarcated as Jardalu area in GI certification out of which 450 hectares falls in this district.
The BAU which had been in a key role as facilitator in securing GI tag for Jardalu has been also involved in branding and marketing of Jardalu. The efforts for ensuring exclusive market produce could have a distinct market identity have been further stepped up by university after Dr D R Singh present VC took charge of the university.
At his initiative a workshop on quality production of Jardalu, storage, marketing and branding of the mango variety was organized by university recently. The participants in the workshop included mango growers besides other stakeholders.
Taking into consideration essentiality of proper packaging for safe transportation and also branding of Jardalu, the university has decided to sign a memorandum of understanding soon with Indian Institute of Packaging, Mumbai. The university is also facilitating registration of GI users.
As per available information total eighty-nine applications of Jardalu growers for registration as GI users have been forwarded by university to the competent authorities. For export promotion of Jardalu the university is jointly working with local administration and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
The stakeholders involved in branding and marketing of Jardalu mostly feel there is chances of substantial headway this season towards ensuring desired market identity of exclusive produce provided gaps in planning and implementation could be filled properly.
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Writer Avijit Biswas, former principal correspondent of Hindustan Times Bhagalpur bureau, can be contacted at email@example.com
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