The garden was nurtured using purchased water
During the drought of 2012-13, he built a tank with his own money. Moreover, water was supplied to the orchard by renting tankers from outside, which cost about four-and-a-half lakh rupees. The mango orchard was watered by transporting water from sources that were 15-20 km away, and in this way, it was kept healthy.
The Niranjan variety of mango grown here, saplings of which were brought from Andhra Pradesh, produces fruits in three seasons.
The expert’s opinion
Speaking about Salunke’s experiment, Dr. B. M. Kapse, a retired scientist from the Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth, said that Salunke’s mango orchard management is praiseworthy. According to the photos and description, the mango looks just like the Niranjan mango. Nothing can be said with certainty without a detailed study. About the Niranjan variety, our university developed this variety about 30 years ago. It bears fruits twice a year. It has an apple-like, round shape. When the fruit is ready for harvesting in May, its blossoms are also ready. Fruit from these blossoms is ready for harvesting in the months of September and October. If the first blossom yields 200 fruits per tree, the second blossom of the same tree yields 40 fruits. The fruit is tastiest during the summer season. However, this variety does not blossom for the third time. Shravanya, the local variety also yields fruits during the month of Shravan.
“Hirabai, Salunke’s wife, contributes significantly in various farming activities. The information published in ‘Agrowon”, as well as given during the annual “Agrowon” Agricultural Exhibitions helps greatly in improving conventional knowledge. He benefited from the guidance received from the Mahatma Phule Krushi Vidyapeeth of Rahuri, and from progressive farmers like Balshiram Dere etc.”-Sukhdev Salunke – 9922376811
“Ripe mangoes during the main season, and raw mangoes during other seasons”
“Sukhdev Dagadu Salunke from Dhoki village (Dist. Nagar) is a retired teacher and a progressive farmer who loves to experiment. The feature of his farming is the production of the Niranjan mango (throughout the year), which yields fruits in three seasons. He has secured the market for this fruit, both in the form of ripe mangos, as well as raw mangos.”-Swanand Bhalerao
Dhoki in the Nagar district (Tal. Parner) is a village situated in the drought-prone belt. It is about five km away from Takli Dhokeshwar, an important town on the Nagar-Kalyan highway. Agriculture in this region is completely dependent on rain. The crops in the kharip season are millet and a few pulses, while in the rabbi season, wheat, Bengal gram and onion are cultivated. Vegetables are grown to some extent near the available water sources. Sukhdev Dagadu Salunke is a retired teacher in the village, who is a full time farmer now.
Salunke has a total of eight acres of arable farm land in the Dhoki area. Various fruit crops are grown in the land, such as mangoes, nessberries (chikoo), custard apples, limes etc. Mango is the main crop. But the main feature is the Niranjan variety of mango, which yields fruit two to three times in a year. There are 50 trees of the Niranjan variety of mango. In all there are 350 mango trees, including the varieties like Kesar, Hapus, Langda etc.
Farming development begins
Salunke worked as a teacher for about 37 years. He was transferred to many villages during his service. He used these opportunities to study the agricultural practices of progressive farmers in various regions. He always felt that he should follow their profitable farming practices. Thus, he started acting on these thoughts in 1996. But his farm land was rocky in most parts, and the grade of the soil was inferior. So, he decided to grow only fruit crops in his farm. In particular, mangoes have a very good demand and rate during the mango season. After studying, he realized that the production of mangoes was comparatively less in Marathwada, and so, if mango fruits were sent to that region, the likelihood of getting good rates would be higher. He started planning accordingly.
Planting and management of fruit crops
In 2001, he selected inferior quality land and dug 11 meter pits. He filled the pits with wastage from millets, groundnut leaves, and put phorate on these fillings. Soil was brought from a lake, and fortified with 16 trolleys of dung manure and 16 trolleys of sheep/goat dung manure. Saplings were bought from the Agriculture Department in July 2001 and were planted at a distance of 3030 feet. One of the intermediaries bought 50 mango saplings from Andhra Pradesh and gave them to him, informing that the name of the mango variety was Niranjan. However, till date, Salunke does not know either the exact name of the place where the saplings were bought from, or the exact name of the variety.
Arrangement for water
There was no reliable water supply available even after the saplings were planted. In the beginning, water was literally carried in pots by people to water the saplings. In 2002, he dug a well, and water was supplied via a one-inch pipeline from the well. In 2003, arrangements for supplying water from the nearby lake via a pipeline were made. A bore well was dug in 2004. A large tank with a capacity of 3 lakh litres was built for storing water. Thus, water is now available here, even though it is a region with little water. In addition, intercrops of onion, garlic and pigeon peas (tur) are grown in the mango orchard. : Currently, he fertilizes the farm thrice a year, depending on the season. For every tree, a basketful of dung manure and sheep/goat dung manure is applied. Insecticides and pesticides are sprayed on the mango trees, as needed, to control stem borers, green grasshoppers.
About Salunke’s Niranjan mango
The mango, brought from Andhra Pradesh, has been cultivated in the orchard for the last 13 years. No production was taken for the first three years. Now, the trees have grown and have a yield capacity of four to five quintals per tree. Mango blossoms appear three times a year; in the months of January, May and October. Production begins four months after the blossoms are seen. Mangoes are harvested in the month of May. Aside from the main season of May, production quality is not good during the other two seasons. Therefore, raw mangoes are harvested during these two seasons.
Rates received are: (per kg)
- Raw mangoes – Mumbai market – Rs. 70-80
- Pune – Rs. 70 to 75
- Aurangabad – Rs. 60 to 65
- Ripe mangoes – local market and Aurangabad – Rs. 40 to 50
- Rates for Kesar mangoes
- Aurangabad – Rs. 150
- Other markets – Rs. 100
The taste of Niranjan mango
On this topic, Salunke explains that three to four fruits make one kilogram of mangoes. The fruit is round in shape. It is sweet to taste and the pulp is rather thin. The seed of mango has fibres. Compared to regular mango trees, these trees are shorter.
The fruit is best-suited for mango pickle, mango jam etc. If it is available during festivals such as Navaratri, Eid the demand is higher.