Favourable weather this time has resulted in ample production of ‘Noorjahan’ mangoes, a variety that grows only in the Katthiwada area of Alirajpur district in Madhya Pradesh.
The unique mango is known for its taste, size and weight. One mango could be up to 11 inches in length and weigh between two-and-a-half to five kilos, making ‘Noorjahan’ one of its kind in the country. As a result, the mango fetches a prize in the range of Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 a piece, which had gone up to Rs 1,200 apiece in 2019.
Why is this variety so popular?
Shivraj Singh Yadav, who owns a farm in Katthiwara, said that besides its sweet taste, the extraordinary size of this rare mango variety is definitely its USP. Each piece of this giant variety is booked much before it becomes ripe. “As the mangoes ripe, the trees must be propped up because they can’t sustain the weight. Getting a ‘Noorjahan’ is not an easy task as the variety needs to be booked three months ago,” Yadav said.
People are amazed by its size and taste. Orders come from far-off places, but the order has to be placed well in advance. However, cultivation of this mango variety is not easy as the graft requires enough care and attention until the mango grows, Yadav added.
The Noorjahan variety produces fruits towards the beginning of June. These trees start flowering in January- February. A Noorjahan mango can grow up to a foot long and its kernels weigh between 150 to 200 grams, local cultivators claimed.
Orders are placed from cities like Bhopal, Indore, Vadodara, Mumbai, Surat, and each mango fetches about Rs 500 to Rs 1,000.
Yadav has only three trees of this breed. “We are producing this mango for the last 40 years and wherever we have presented this breed, it has won an award for its huge size,” said Yadav.
Yadav’s farm has 35 other varieties of mangoes, but the star attraction no doubt remains ‘Noorjahan’.
Who introduced ‘Noorjahan’?
Shivraj Yadav’s late father, Thakur Pavnendra Singh’s interest and initiative resulted in the development of ‘Noorjahan’ variety. “My father had a lot of passion for trying out different varieties of mangoes in our orchard. He initiated the development of ‘Noorjahan’ by preparing a graft. After him, we are carrying forward the legacy,” added Shivraj.
Locals, however, claim that ‘Noorjahan’ mangoes are of Afghan origin and cultivated only in the Katthiwada region of Alirajpur district, approximately 250 km from Indore.
Good yield and price this year
Unlike last year, ‘Noorjahan’ yield has been good this time due to favourable weather conditions. “The three Noojahan trees in my orchard have produced 250 mangoes. The fruit has been priced between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 per piece. Bookings have already been done for these mangoes,” Yadav told PTI.
He said people who have booked Noorjahan mangoes in advance include fruit lovers from Madhya Pradesh as well as neighboring Gujarat. “This time the weight of a Noorjahan mango is going to be between 2 kg to 3.5 kilos,” Yadav added.
Ishaq Mansoori, an expert in cultivating Noorjahan mangoes in Katthiwada, said, “This time fruiting has been good, but COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the business.” He said ‘Noorjahan’ trees could not flower properly in 2020 due to unfavourable climatic conditions.
“In 2019, one mango of this variety weighed around 2.75 kg at an average and buyers paid as high as Rs 1,200 apiece for it,” he added.