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Bonanza time for mango lovers

Bhubaneswar, May 20: From fist-sized, ripe yellow Dasheharis to the yummy-looking exotic Sindhus, the sweet smell of varieties of mangoes filled the air at a two-day state-level Mango Mahotsav at Ekamra Kanan farm.

Organised by the state horticulture department, the exhibition-cum-sale is an annual event to encourage mango cultivators as well as promote the king of fruits. With several local and exotic varieties of the fruit, the festival, which began this morning, attracted hundreds of mango lovers.

“The best thing about summer season is the mango. I have come to find out the various varieties available. Someone even told me that I would get the mangoes at a cheaper rate here,” said Priyambada Sahoo, a homemaker.

Those with green fingers or a knack for gardening also thronged to the farm in large numbers. “I have planted some mango trees in my terrace garden. Although I have splurged on the mango products, I have come here primarily to seek advice of horticulturists on growing mangoes,” said Neelam Choudhury, another homemaker.

Apart from a dozen kiosks selling mangoes and mango products, nearly 120 varieties of the fruit, under commercial, hybrid and elite categories, were put up for display. The prize-winning mangoes and other products such as green mango squash, jam, hot and sour pickle, sweet and sour pickle, mango pulp, aamchoor (mango powder), ambula (dried mango) and processed mango products were lined up in plastic and glass bottles.

“A total of 1,642 participants from all 30 districts have come here. There are over 120 varieties and the exhibits exceed 3,000. Similarly, the number of preserved products on display must be around 3,500. More than a dozen private mango growers also participated in the event,” said an official of the horticulture department.

A jury that included horticulturists and experts in agricultural technology had rated the various varieties mangoes yesterday.

“I have won prizes in the ambula, aamchoor and mango slices categories. The Mango Mahotsav would definitely give a boost to the mango cultivators and traders across the state,” said Manoranjan Satapathy from the canning centre of the Orissa forest development corporation in Mayurbhanj.

Earlier, while inaugurating the festival, chief minister Naveen Patnaik emphasised on promoting mango cultivation in the state. He said mango farming in Orissa is picking up in terms of popularity and that his government is concentrating on upgrading the subsistence farming to a commercial level.

Around four lakh hectares of land is under cultivation at Dhenkanal, Angul, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Balangir, Koraput — the places where mangoes are grown in abundance — said Naveen, while announcing plans for developing Deras farm on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.

Emphasis would be given more on processed mango products and the post-harvest management of mangoes would be done through self-help groups. The chief minister released Udayan Sandesh, the souvenir of the horticulture department.

Agriculture minister, Pradeep Maharathy, said steps are being taken to provide fresh green vegetables and fresh fish to the Bhubaneswar market on a daily basis. The newly inducted minister also announced that he is working on developing vegetable seeds and adequate storage units to prevent farmers from resorting to panic sale. Director of horticulture department, Sanjeev Chadha, was also present at the function.

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