RAJKOT: There’s some sweet news for diabetics who refrain from gorging on mangoes fearing spike in blood sugar .
After nearly five years of consistent efforts, ‘Tommy Atkins’ variety of mango has been successfully cultivated in kesar hubs of Junagadh and Gir-Somnath districts.
This exotic mango variety, originally from Florida , US, is globally famed for having 75% less sugar content than the usual varieties and experiments to grow them in north India since 2010 have been successful.
Vishal Gandecha, a progressive mango farmer in Maliya taluka of Junagadh, said, “It was in 2015 that I bought the seedling from my friend Naresh Boghra. We nurtured the plants by using organic farming. It worked and started giving fruits from last year.”
The tree starts bearing fruits after five years and yields around 15 kg per tree once it’s seven years old. “This mango is in high demand among diabetics. I have select customers who order this fruit,” said Gandecha
Boghra, a nursery owner, said, “I had got grafts of Tommy Atkins from a relative who came from the US 10 year ago and started the experiment by selling mother plants in Junagadh.”
Junagadh farmers are now gradually exploring opportunities to export this variety to other countries.
Gafoor Qureshi, a mango grower in Talala, said, “This variety was first brought in Malihabad in UP in 2010 and was successfully grown. Our experiments also have yielded fruits after five years.”
Professor D K Varu, head of fruit science department, Junagadh Agriculture University (JAU), told TOI, “Tommy Atkins is the world’s leading mango variety. It tastes a bit acidic but has less sugar.”
Varu said there are just about 25 to 30 trees of this variety in Junagadh and Gir-Somnath districts and the variety is available only in select malls of metro cities. However, as the climate is conducive, there is a huge potential for farmers to experiment with this variety.