Sir could you please tell our readers about mango and why it holds such an important place in our lives?

India is the land of mangoes. It is the heritage fruit of the country. The country is well known for its diversity in mango varieties and the eco-geographical areas where it is being cultivated. India is producing more than 40 percent of the mangoes of the world and the livelihood of millions of farmers is dependent on this crop. Two major mango-based products which are being exported from India are mango pulp and mango pickles. The raw material is available in abundance which is why there is immense scope for its processing both at the micro and the macro level.

India is also the major exporter of mango pulp in the world and mango pulp worth more than Rs. 585 cr has been exported. Major export destinations are Saudi Arab, Yemen Republic, Netherlands, Kuwait and USA. Indian mango pickles are also in great demand and are mostly exported to the USA, Russia, Belgium, Netherlands, and France.

Could you please give us a broad understanding of the mango processing industry and tell us about interesting trends that you have observed over time in this industry?

Although dozens of products can be made from mango, but mainly the processing industry is based on mango pulp and pickles. The pulp industry is dependent on the selected varieties and it is localized in different parts of the country. But there are a certain limited number of clusters where mango pulp is being produced whereas pickle is produced throughout the country and there are more than 100 recipes through which pickles are produced. In some parts of the country like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, pickles are made and exported.

As far as mango pulp is concerned, it is converted into several products like juices, nectars, drinks, jams, fruit cheese, and many other beverages. It is also used for puddings, bakery fillings, fruit meals, and dishes, especially for children. It is also abundantly used in ice creams, yogurt, and confectionery products. Mango pulp industry is important for the country and it is limited to only a few varieties like Alphonso, Totapuri, Kesar, and sometimes, a few other varieties, but those contribute less to the major chunk of the mango pulp production.

There are two main clusters in India where mango pulp is produced, these clusters have good linkages between the processing units and the farmers. One major cluster is in Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh) and the other one is in Krishnagiri (Tamil Nadu) while some of the processing units exist in Maharashtra and Gujarat as well.

How would you describe the contribution of Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture to the mango processing industry?

The Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture is conducting several activities which are helpful for the processing industry. Particularly, the institute is screening mango varieties that can be suitably used for making different products. The varieties and the hybrids are being screened out for their suitability so that newly developed varieties can be used for the processing industry.

The institute is also helping the industry by providing post-harvest handling knowledge as well as developing technologies on value-added products. Several value-added products have been developed at the institute and the institute is also developing technology on waste utilization from the processing industry. Several trainings are being conducted at the institute for post-harvest management, and specifically, on value addition.

The institute also has an Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) Centre where many of the incubates are working on mango processing and several innovations have been made by developing new products. At the Agri-Business Incubation Centre of the institute, the incubates are provided with hands-on training as well as facilities where they can learn to make different products and utilize this information, knowledge and experience for establishing their own enterprises.

Could you please tell us about some of the varieties of Mango developed by the institute?

The institute has a long-term breeding program for the development of mango varieties, suitable as a table variety as well as for processing. Two of the hybrids have been released by the institute for cultivation. Ambika, a hybrid between Amprapali and Janardhan Pasand, is a regular bearer and a variety that has an attractive red color. The fruit size of this variety weighs about 300 gms and is highly suitable as a table variety. Another variety, Arunika, a hybrid between Amrapali and Vanraj, is dwarf in stature, regular bearer, very attractive, and has a high quality of pulp. Apart from the varieties for table purpose, the institute is also screening varieties for processing and some of the varieties have been identified as per their suitability for processing.

Could you please tell us about the support and facilities provided by the institute to micro food processing enterprises engaged in mango processing?

The Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture is providing support and facilities to micro food processing enterprises. These include capacity building of entrepreneurs by providing technical knowledge, skill-based training, and handholding support services at the institute. Several trainings are being organized in general as well as specific on areas of food processing. The Agri-Business Incubation Centre of the institute is playing an important role in this regard.

incubates are developing several novel products with the help of the institute’s scientists, mentors, and they are utilizing the processing facilities available at the institute. There are several examples through which the incubates from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal have utilized this training and started their enterprises. The incubates are using the processing hall and learning how to start an industry at a smaller level. Several farmers and entrepreneurs apart from ABI are using the facility available at the processing hall of the institute for producing pulp and other products.

For example, farmers of Malihabad have utilized the pulp processing facility of the institute, and pulp was used for making different products. An entrepreneur started an ice cream factory based on mango pulp. He received hands-on training on pulp extraction processing and storage and utilized this training for making mango ice creams. The mango ice creams made by the entrepreneur have become popular and they are in large demand.

One of the incubates, an IT engineer, started an enterprise with pulp processing. The pulp was utilized by him for making different products, specifically for different types of sweets, confectionery products, and baby food. Another example is Amchur, where the institute scientists have given training at the farm level to women in villages who can utilize the technology to produce high-quality Amchur. Although Amchur production was going on in these villages for a long time, the quality of the product was not of good standards. The intervention by the institute scientists helped them in producing good quality Amchur which could be sold at a better price.

Amchur production in Malihabad and other areas is an important processing activity. The farmers are facing losses due to the immature fruits drop, due to several reasons mainly – the wind & and storm. Amchur production is practiced by the villagers of Malihabad and in other areas for utilizing unripe mango fruits and most of the time they make Khatai out of that, which is used for making Amchur. Amchur is one of the important products produced from raw fruits. Raw mangos are available in abundance in the mango growing belt of Malihabad and every year due to wind and storm, a lot of fruit drops take place. Rural women were using traditional ways and converting these raw fruits into Khatai, but the quality of that products was not good and therefore, the farmers were not getting a good profit out of it. The institute demonstrated standard technology for making Amchur and also helped them in its marketing. Therefore, their profits from Amchur increased from 2 to 3 times what they were getting earlier.

Another important intervention by the institute was on the aspect of food safety and hygiene which led to enhancement of the food product quality. There is no dearth of raw material and Amchur can be produced at a very large level. This can help the farmers in improving their livelihood as Amchur production at the farm level is also possible.

The institute is also helping the farmers by providing access to financial support through banks and in this regard, handholding for financial support is helpful to the entrepreneurs. The institute has also helped in the creation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and these community-based organizations mostly involving women who can utilize the raw material available in the mango orchards for producing different products. The creation of SHGs in the village has helped the rural women in making pickles, pulp, and Amchur. All these products are becoming popular and improving the livelihood of SHGs as they are involved in the production of these products.

Could you please tell us about the kind of mango-based research and development carried out at CISH and processing technologies as well as patents developed by the institute that micro enterprises can benefit from?

The institute is working on variety development as well as production technology. The scientists are also involved in working on different areas related to the ripening of fruits and storage of mangos. As far as mango processing is concerned, several value-added products have been developed and many of these value-added products are being commercialized by the Agri-Business Incubation Center. The institute has developed several mango-based processing technologies. Technologies for making par, squash, wine, and vinegar raw mango are available. Apart from this, different types of pickles, ice-creams, and value-added products are being tried by the entrepreneurs who are associated with the institute. Two mobile apps – one on raw mango products and another one ripe mango products have been developed which are also available in Hindi with an audio facility and can be downloaded from the Google Play store.

The institute is also developing immunity-boosting products by using bioactive compounds isolated from the mango. Not only fruits but the other parts like the leaf and the bark are also being utilized for this purpose. Dussehri pulp which was not accepted by the processing units, has been commercialized and there has been a demand for Dussehri pulp and now, the processing units which are coming for the production of Dussehri pulp can get good market.

Could you please tell us about the kind of branding, marketing and promotional support provided to micro enterprises at CISH and cite some success stories that have come about as a result of this support?

The institute has supported SHGs and other entrepreneurs in branding and marketing through mobile apps has also been initiated. An example of marketing support by the institute was also mentioned earlier in the story related to the Amchur production by using standard methods. The institute supported an entrepreneur engaged in ice-cream production from different mango varieties. It had a good market and people were interested in tasting different mangos in the form of ice creams.

What are your views on the future of the mango processing industry and the scope for an aspiring entrepreneur especially at the micro food processing level?

As far as the future of the mango processing industry is concerned in Southern parts of the country, it’s developing at a good pace. However, in North India, so far the development process is very slow therefore there is a need to start it at a micro food processing level and Dussehri which was not accepted by the traditional processers will become a common variety among them in the future. Because Dussehri pulp can be very well utilized for developing several value-added products, it has a lot of market scope and in near future, macro food processing industries will be coming in but it will depend on the success of micro food processing industries.

With the immense experience that you have gathered over the period in the food processing sector and having been closely associated with the PMFME Scheme, according to you, what are some of the areas that micro food processing enterprises need support with and how do you think the PMFME Scheme would be able to support micro food processing enterprises in those areas?

Considering the slow progress of processing industries in the North, it is very much important to support the micro food processing enterprises as this will encourage mango processing within the clusters where mango is being produced. In near future, the infrastructure development through common support will be definitely helpful in establishing the Dussehri pulp industry as the work done by some of the entrepreneurs in association with the institute has indicated that there is a market of Dussehri pulp that can be utilized in different areas and there is a demand for the pulp of this variety. The small units are now interested to come up for its production and its successful production will definitely lead to the establishment of big industries. SHGs supported by the Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture are coming for the production of the mango processing particularly in the form of pulp at the rural level. Mechanization in the processing industry is important and a lot of investment can only take place when there will be a demonstration of successful small scale units with the help of public and private sector organizations.

About the Guest

Born on November 15, 1959, at Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh, Dr. Shailendra Rajan received his M.Sc.(Ag.) degree from G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology (1983) and Ph.D. from IARI, New Delhi (1987). He started his career as a Scientist at CISH in 1986, worked as Head, Division of Crop Improvement and Biotechnology till 2014 and presently working as Director of the Institute. His research contributions to the horticulture science are: development of high yielding guava varieties like Lalit, Dhawal, Shweta, and Lalima with a widespread cultivation in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab and many other guava growing areas of the country. He has also developed and released mango varieties like Ambika and Arunika. Dr. Rajan has contributed outstandingly in genetic resource management of mango and guava, augmented and maintained one of the largest field genebanks of the world, developed interspecific (Psidium mole x P guajava) wilt resistant rootstock for guava and production technologies like rejuvenation and propagation techniques in mango and guava.

He has been instrumental in organizing International Conferences and National Conferences. Besides have about 150 publications, edited 5 books and 15 bulletins. He is widely traveled in mango growing areas of India and abroad e.g. China, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Oman, and Nepal. Dr. Rajan has honor to work as IPGRI Consultant for “Status Report on Genetic Resources of mango in Asia-Pacific Region in 2000”; Coordinator for the development of web site on “Asian Fruit Genetic Resources Network” for 10 countries; Resource Person for “Information documentation of tropical fruit genetic resources and use of GIS technology”; Member of different Task Force for DUS guidelines for fruit crops; Nodal Person for DUS testing of mango; Member of International Advisory Committee on Mango Tree Encyclopedia, being published in English, Spanish, Arabic and French.

He was instrumental in developing community-based organizations like the Society for Conservation of Mango Diversity in Malihabad, Avadh Aam Utpadak Bagwani Samiti deals with the problems of local mango farmers. He was instrumental in developing guava orchards in Arunachal Pradesh at the height of 5500 feet. He was also instrumental in the development of Uttar Pradesh Kela Utpadan Sangh which has managed Fusarium TR-4 epidemics in an extraordinary way within the community. His coordination for the development of tribal farmers in West Bengal has helped in developing “Jagriti” and “Sahbhagita” for improving the livelihood of resource-poor tribal.

He is Fellow of five professional societies including IAHS, CHAI, SADH, ISHRD; President of Society of Advancement of Subtropical Horticulture. Executive Councilor, Indian Academy of Horticultural Sciences and Member of several academic societies. Dr. Rajan is a distinguished scientist and was awarded several awards and recognitions from the National Academies, societies, and farmer organizations. These include Life-Time Achievement Award-2019, Dr. R.S. Paroda Award, Shri Giridhari Lal Chadha Award, and Dashehari Award.

About ICAR-Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (ICAR-CISH), Lucknow

Initially with a focused thrust on mango as Regional Research Station of IIHR in 1972, and upgraded as full-fledged Institute in 1984 as Central Institute of Horticulture for Northern Plains and renamed as Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH) on June 14, 1995, has since undergone transformation nomenclaturally reflecting a shift in research mandate also. Recently in 2016 Regional research station along with one KVK established at Food Park, Malda (West Bengal). Currently, the institute has an enlarged vision of conducting basic and applied research in frontier areas for the development of cost effective and viable technologies for enhancing the production and productivity of mango, guava, aonla, bael, and underutilized fruit crop besides human resource development and technology dissemination. Institute has signed MOUs with SAUs/Central Universities viz. Amity University, Lucknow, Integral University, Lucknow, Banda University, Banda, Uttar Banga Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Cooch Behar, and Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology & Sciences, Allahabad and also recognized by IGNOU, New Delhi as one of the study centers for offering a certificate course on organic farming. National Horticulture Mission has also identified the Institute as a nodal center for imparting training on rejuvenation of old and senile mango orchards. The ICAR-Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow set up as Central Mango Research Station.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the above guest and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.