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A rare mango variety faces extinction

Giant Noor Jahans grow only on three trees left in the Katthiwara area of MP’s Alirajpur district

Noor Jahan is a rare variety of mango grown only in the Katthiwara area of Alirajpur district,which shares its boundaries with Gujarat.

Unlike the dainty image the name evokes,the Noor Jahan variety is all about size. One mango weighs between two-and-a-half kg and five kg.

Its taste is definitely not its selling point but the extraordinary size makes it a sought-after variety,mainly because there are only three trees left in a family’s farm.

Every piece of this giant variety is booked much before it becomes ripe. Shivraj Singh,the farm owner,says as the mangoes ripe,the trees have to be propped up because they can’t sustain the weight.

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Singh’s late father had brought the variety from neighbouring Gujarat a few decades ago. Though there were many trees in the past,the number has fast declined so much so that the variety is facing extinction.

Tribal Welfare Minister Vijay Shah,who has taken a fancy to the variety,admits he has unsuccessfully tried to grow the mangoes elsewhere. Shah insists that the variety had been imported from Afghanistan.

While the Horticulture department’s efforts have not yielded fruits so far,the family sells one piece for anything between Rs 250 to 400 and exports most of the produce.

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Senior Agriculture Development Officer A S Chouhan says the soil where the mangoes grow is sandy and the climate is slightly cooler because it’s a forested area.

The trees measure between 10 and 12 feet and the fruit itself does not look any different from the common varieties.

First published on: 17-06-2011 at 03:43:48 am
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