Technological Interventions Ensured Tribals' Livelihood in mango orchards
A significant proportion of tribals have been engaged in shifting cultivation, especially on high lands without soil conservation measures with a high level of soil erosion, in Kashipur block of Rayagada district of Odisha. The place is located in the interior of forest at 500 km away from the state capital, Bhubaneswar. This practice was leading to the loss of land productivity, soil fertility and decrease in carrying capacity of the available natural resources. These lands are best suited for tree based perennial horticultural crops, such as mango having commercial potential in the area. Though the State Government has been making efforts since long, but somehow the tribals could not realize the commercial value of the mango. Lack of result demonstration, pest incidence in some of the existing orchards and absence of assured mango marketing channel were the key constraints in the way of mango cultivation.
Central Horticultural Experiment Station of Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, with the aim to enhance the livelihood of rtibals, started work in the area with the help of some of the nontribal farmers having mango orchards. These farmers served as risk bearer, technology demonstrator and a link between tribals and research station. In existing orchards, nutrient management, fruit fly management, Hot Water Treatment (HWT), fruit packing and transportation, pre and post harvest interventions for healthy fruits were demonstrated. Meanwhile, the market channel was established to a distance of 500 km. This brought the confidence among tribals which paved the way for significant increase in mango acerage in the tribal villages.