HCCB is one of the world’s largest institutional buyers
HCCB is one of the world’s largest institutional buyers and consumers of mango pulp. This pulp is the basic ingredient of a variety of juices that HCCB makes.
Even as India produces a lot of mangoes – It is the largest producer of mangoes in the world – the country’s yields are among the lowest in the world. Even behind countries like Bangladesh, Brazil and Pakistan, in per acre productivity. Old cultivation techniques, lack of use of technology, and lack of training and exposure, have kept output way behind other mango producing countries.
It was time that HCCB stepped in to address the issue. In partnership with companies like Jain Irrigation, it started training farmers in newer techniques of mango plantation – namely “Ultra High Density Plantation,” also called UHDP, which is especially helpful in increasing the productivity at mango plantations in numerous ways.
Under Project Unnati – a capability-building program for farmers, the farmers are trained on:
- Increasing plant density per hectare: In traditional modes of mango plantation, the trees are planted at large distances, and the average density of plants would remain at 100 trees per hectare. Under the UHDP method the gaps between the trees is reduced to around three metres, increasing the density to 1666 trees per hectare.
- Reduction in water and land usage: With the knowledge gained under the UHDP method, farmers are taught to make use of drip irrigation, instead of flood irrigation. Through this method they use reduced amounts of water for cultivation, and are able to make better use of the small land holdings.
- Shorter gestation period: Along with the reduction of spacing, farmers are made to practice pruning, as a part of UHDP. Pruning helps in containing the height of the plants, and contains the canopy height to a maximum of about 6 to 7 feet. Pruning, along with the creation of environment conducive for fruition results in faster yields of fruits for every tree, resulting in gestation period being brought down to 3 to 5 years, from 8 years in traditional cultivation.
- Increased yield: Pruning not only helps in better plucking and reduced wastage of the crop, but along with drip irrigation, smaller canopies, the entire plant becomes more productive throughout its lifetime. Add to that the lesser gaps that are maintained between the trees, yields could grow, and even double in quantity for a single crop for a farmer.
- Improved quality of fruits: Farmers are coached on the use of newer technologies such as organic and water soluble fertilisers, which are used through drip irrigation are able to maximise inputs more effectively, hence improving the quality of the yield. Additionally, due to the reduced height, and easy accessibility, maintaining quality and harvesting of the fruits will become much easier, compared to the traditional techniques where waste was rampant during harvesting.
As more and more farmers are getting trained on UHDP and the usage of UHDP expands, farmers are benefitting through a better quality of yield. In turn, HCCB is getting assured of healthy crops that would in turn make the great tasting juices.