Dharwad, popularly known as the Mango City of Karnataka and South India is famous for its sinfully sweet and delectable Alphonso mango. Besides Alphonso, Pairi, Totapuri and Dasheri is also grown in this belt in North Karnataka.
It is estimated that over 25,000 hectares of land is under mango cultivation in this district. Small and marginal farmers in the villages of Joga Yellapur, Kelgiri, Tegur, Ambalikoppa, Mavinakoppa, Halligeri, Mansur, Mandihal, Navalur, Itigatti, Yerikoppa, Kalakeri, Kyarkoppa and others in the taluks of Kalaghatagi, Navalgund, Alnavar, Hubli, Kundgol and Annigeri have been growing Alphonso mango for decades.
Locals say that the agro-climatic conditions (tropical wet and dry climate and medium to deep black soils) prevailing here lend the mangoes a unique taste, sweetness, aroma and juiciness that is not found in the Alphonso grown in other parts of the country. Even native mangoes are naturally sweet and tasty and much sought-after in the peak season.
Dharwad mango is rich in nutrients and vitamins and used to make juices, smoothies, ice cream, syrups, jams, jelly, bakery goods, confectionery, yoghurts, sweets, dried candy and fruit bars to name a few. The high juice content, sweetness and excellent sugar acid blend makes it desirable for manufacturing pulp and in the food processing industry.
Dharwad mangoes are exported to Hong Kong, West Asia, Europe and Central Asia. This cash crop has changed the fortunes of small and marginal farmers of this district in the last decade. Farmers are relying heavily on scientific help and technology to increase productivity per hectare and cluster-based processing units to enrich the rural economy, generate employment and increase exports.
A lot of local delicacies like mavina hannina seekarni served with holige, sweet chutneys, gojju and traditional sweets like mango pedha are made from Dharwad Alphonso in the season.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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