Mango farming is native to Asia, it is said to be the leading fruit crop in that region. From Asia it spread to other parts of the world. The Persians introduced it to East Africa while Portuguese brought it to West Africa. Itinerant merchant missionaries and colonists brought it to Nigeria. And has since then become one of the economic crops in the country.
This economic tree accounts for 40% total fruit exports in India, and occupies about 15% in the global market. It accounts for 60% of the world production exporting largely to USA and Middle East countries.
Benue State is the highest producing state in Nigeria; farming being their major occupation. Mango farming is cultivated mainly for commercial purposes and they supply in large quantities to other states.
There are many varieties of mango ranging from sizes, colour, flavour and texture. Mango has both nutritious and economic benefits. The fruit contains 15% sugars, large amount of Vitamin A and less of B and C. It can be processed into fruit juice and preserved when ripe.
In Nigeria most of the fruits are consumed fresh (raw). Nigeria is the 9th mango producing country but when talking of export we are yet to get a footing.
Mango farming is very profitable in Nigeria because very few people are into it for business. Most people who cultivate mango in the South are doing so on subsistence basis. This being the reason for zero competition. Using my location as a case study during mango season which is February we don’t always have enough. That is why in about a month or less you won’t find it anywhere to buy.
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Entrepreneurs, investors and even Government can partner with private bodies to invest heavily into mango farming in other to take advantage of the opportunities it presents. It will go a long way in creating massive employment and raising the economy of the country. We will then have enough for local market and export.
Because recent development in technology so many hybrid and grafted seedlings are out, making it very easy and convenient to establish mango plantation.
Unlike before mango trees were very bogus, huge and very tall (30-40ft). They fruit and mature between 7-8 years. But with grafted seedlings you can grow and harvest mango with good flavour, taste and bigger sizes within 3 years. The height is just about 6 feet tall. Produces more fruit than the traditional.
In this post you will get a run down step by step guide on mango farming from start to finish and the different varieties that are available.
Cut down trees, shrubs/grasses and clear the land for planting. Mango can grow in a wide range of soil and weather conditions, however for better yield and optimum growth it is ideal to plant them on a sandy loam soil. But can also grow very well on a clayey soil though very difficult from the start but once established will fruit abundantly.
The soil should be well loosened and deep in other to allow easy root penetration. Mark and stake the places to dig holes.
Mango can be propagated either through seed or grafting. The trees grown from seeds produce fruits with stingy pulp and mild taste of turpentine. Spacing is 10m by 10m for the traditional while grafted seedlings is 4m by 2m .
The hole should be dug 60cm by 60cm. Fill the already dug hole with top soil that is mixed with manure in the ratio of 1:1. Use water for the mixture.
Mango should be cultivated when the rains are just starting. Transplant the seedlings to the main field when they are between 3-6 months old.
Prune mango tree by cutting out the leading tree when it is about 90cm high. It will help in increasing the production of side branches. After the production of the branches you prune the branches to low hanging.
In other to open up the tree you have to remove dead branches and those that won’t bear fruits. Prune frequently to keep them short especially after every harvest.
PRUNING WILL HELP MANGO TREES TO:
- Grow fast
- Good aeration
- Easy farm operations and
- Increased productivity.
Mango seedlings should be irrigated when there is shortage of rain or drought. Water them in dry season so the tree can grow well and be fully established.
FERTILIZER APPLICATION IN MANGO FARMING
Mango is a tree crop that can do very well with organic manure because it provides accurate and balanced nutrition to the soil; reduce the risk of tree damage.This is also applicable to apple farming. Click here to learn how to cultivate apple.
Organic manure are also very good in releasing nutrients slowly to the soil. Thereby improving their moisture retention capacity. In case you want to use inorganic manure NPK, it should be applied in ring form 2m away from the trunk.
PEST/DISEASES IN MANGO FARMING
In mango farming pests are not really a problem. Common pests are cococous spp. that affects the plant leaves and fruits. It can be controlled by applying Rogor 40EC at 15mls per 10 litres of water.
Weed should be removed from the farm very quickly as they are bad competitors. If you delay weeding the seedlings will not grow well. Weeding should be 3 times a year but at maturity 2 times will be fine.
As earlier stated there are many mango varieties both local and foreign.
It is greenish in colour with a little yellow. Also red in colour with yellow. The pulp is pale yellow to light orange. It is large in size and can be as big as melon . The taste is fresh and sour flavour. Benue mango is abundantly available in April.
It is green in colour with a little red blush. The tastes is like pineapple when ripe. Abundant in March-April
The skin colour is pale peach but yellow flesh-orange with eclipse shape. It has after taste of turpentine/like kerosene. The texture is firm, soft and juicy. Available from February up.
Grown mostly in Enugu, Osun, Cross River and Abuja. The colour is yellow when ripe both in skin and flesh. But becomes more golden when fully ripe. It has an oblong shape, the flavour is sweet with a hint of spice. The texture varies from firmness to soft and juicy fibrous shape. Good for puree, sweet and savoury production. Abundant in February.
Others are: German mango, Sheri mango and Julie mango
it is the most commonly grown commercial mango. This is because it has a long shelve life and can tolerate handling challenges such as bruising, abrasion and degradation. In regards to sweetness and flavour it is not the best. Commercial growers prefer them because of their juice production.
This mango is mildly sweet with flesh texture due to fibres. It is most times covered with dark red blush. Tommy mango has medium to large oval or oblong shape.
It is harvested immature because of their early colouring. Palmer mango has a smooth texture with limited fibres. The taste is mild and the colour is deep cheery red blush with a green background.
Grafted mango seedlings take 3 years to fruit and mature while seed propagation takes about 8 years. They more the grow the more mango trees produce more fruits.
A tree of 20 years will produce 300-600 fruit in a year. Mango trees are cross pollinated, they bring out so many flowers that are heavily shredded with only 0.1% staying to maturity. Traditional mango yield 2-3 tonnes/ha in a year while hybrid yields 10% higher.
The fruit matures within 2-4 months after fertilization before the fruit matures for harvest. Depending on the variety, the colour becomes yellowish or light green. Some people wait for the fruits to fall before picking them for consumption that can only happened for personal use.
For a commercial mango farming you don’t have to wait for the fruit to become completely ripe to soften before harvesting. Harvest them when they are still greenish by plucking the fruits from the tree manually. Preserve the mangoes in shelves in a cool ventilated place. Mango can only be preserved for a week in a low temperature.
Locate fruit juice companies and sell to them. Supply to market men and women who are already waiting for them.
I recommend you plant the dwarf variety which is very tolerant, grows fast and bears abundant fruits. Buy your seedlings from reputable seedling companies such as The Seedworld Company.
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