On July 22, National Mango Day, Kannapyram village which has 200 different varieties of mango os declared as Indigenous Mango Heritage Area. Mango lovers in this area has feast on the fruit in every year in the first week of may. Due to the Corona Virus this year meet was suspended.
The Honor is the hard work of 10 families in Kuruvakkavu in kannapuram panchayat where 107 varieties of mango is found.The families collectively came together to protect the different varieties of mango five years ago. They have a Facebook page named ‘Nattumanjootil – Mango Lovers Kerala’.
There are houses with over 40 to 60 varieties of the fruit. That has nothing to do with the area of that property. For example, the house with 40 varieties stands on a one-acre compound. There is another household on less than 20 cents of land with 12 varieties. Unfortunately, during the mango season, much of the harvest goes to waste. There is a limit to how much we can use at home!” says Shyju.
The Naattumaanjottil started when a 200-year-old mango tree called Vellathan was cut down by a landlord in the neighbourhood.
“That was a special variety, and we didn’t want to lose it. So we collected many pieces of the tree and grafted them with the help of officials from the Department of Agriculture,” remembers Shyju, who is also the personal security officer of KK Shailaja, Minister of Health, Government of Kerala.
He was overwhelmed by the support of families and friends that helped him to achieve success. The Panchayat has 203 varieties but the members assumes that there can be more varieties but the lock down has limited their activities . 102 varieties have been grafted. The scion of the grafted plants were handed over to the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NCAR) at Vellanikkara in Thrissur, and are now healthy for planting. “We are not against seed propagation. But in some cases it takes 10 or more years for the trees to bear fruit. That is why we opted for grafting so as to conserve and propagate as many indigenous varieties as possible,” Shyju Said.
The group is looking forward for a Tourism Heritage Walk , in which the visitors can explore mangoes as well as the scenic beauty of nature. Nattumanjotil group is in a mission focussing on identifying all the possible varieties of mangoes in kerala, Shyju said.