Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Mango Season is Here

While this season starts as early as the last weeks of March, it is only around the last week of April that the many varieties make their entry in the fruit bazaars across the country. This season lasts up to the end of June. In certain areas, it lasts up to the first week of August.
From mangoes that are as small as ping pong balls to large ones that weigh as much as two to three kilograms each, each one of them is a gourmet's treat. And with these different mangoes come some of the famed dishes, all prepared as seasonal delicacies. 

Be it the aam ras or mango shrikand in the western states that is usually teamed up with puris or the avakkai pickles, mango thokku and mango rice made in south India, the range of special dishes in the vast Indian cuisine is aplenty. These many sweet, savoury and spicy treats in the regional cuisines use mangoes as the core ingredient both in its ripe and raw forms. Add to this the many bakeries and pattisseries that have mushroomed across the metros who make cheesecakes and other desserts centred around mangoes, referred as the 'king of fruits', and you have enough options to keep that sweet tooth satiated. 
But, one must admit that nothing beats that feeling of biting through a freshly cut mango.

We take you on a gastronomic journey across the various states in the country to check out the various mangoes available.

Region: Karnataka and kerala
USP: Known as one of the varieties of mangoes that hits the market in the fag end of the season, this fruit, which juicy variety is usually found in abundance in June.

Region: Delhi and Uttar Pradesh
USP: Named because it resembles the holy vermillion, this is very good for shakes, as the pulp has a good yellow colour. This variant is sweet, and yet has a slight tanginess to it.

Region: Kerala
USP: This is a popular variant found in Kerala, which isn't really eaten ripe. It is known among the foodies for its rather distinct tangy taste. It is also used for various dishes in Kerala.

Region: Delhi
USP: This is a variant of the langda variety and is quite commonly found in north India, especially Delhi. It is completely non fibrous, making it a good pick for chutneys. It is sweet-sour in flavour.

Region: Goa and Gujarat
USP: This is one of the varieties of mangoes to hit the market early in the season. Known to be fibrous and juicy, it is one of the most popular choices for the popular aam ras in the western states of India.

Region: Kerala
USP: Known to be one of the most popular varieties of mangoes in Kerala, it is also the most expensive one to be found in the state. It is used in the traditional households for making mambazha pulissery.


Region: Maharashtra
USP: The most popular variety of mango in India, which is also big on export, it is popularly known as hafoos or hapoos. The best variation of Alphonso mangoes are those from Ratnagiri, and Devgad, Maharashtra.

Region: Delhi and Uttar Pradesh
USP: This variant of mangoes originally from Varanasi is lemon yellow in colour, and you can get this variety all year long in most parts of north India, especially Delhi.

Aam baat
-Delhi is known to have an annual mango fair, where there are varieties named by horticulturists after popular actresses like Aishwarya
-Mango has lent its inspiration to a motif that adorns Indian garments like the silk saris
-First mangoes of the season usually fetch nearly a million dollars in Australia and United States

Region: All across India
USP: Known by various names like totapuri, totapari, kilimuku and ginimoothi, this is probably the first variant to hit the market in the mango season. It is best eaten raw, with tempered seasoning.

Region: Kerala
USP: Another popular variety of mango from Kerala, this one has a characteristically large seed. This dull green variant is surprisingly sweet to taste and is found throughout the season.

Region: Andhra Pradesh
USP: One of the most popular variants of mangoes to originate from Andhra Pradesh, this juicy fruit is also very popular in the neighbouring south Indian states.

Region: Karnataka
USP: This is also known popularly as Karnataka alphonso, because the texture and taste is quite similar to that. It is grown widely in north Karnataka and is best eaten around May.

Region: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, kerala and Andhra pradesh
USP: While north India boasts of Sindhoori, which is similarly named because of its deep reddish tinge, this one has a different taste and texture. Known to be more fibrous and juicy, this variety of mango hits the stores quite early in the season — around April.

Gulaab khaas
Region: Uttar Pradesh
USP: As the name suggest the mango is reddish in appearance, and is known for its rosy flavor and aroma. It is a mid-season mango having non-fibrous pulp and very popular for making mango-based desserts too.

Region: Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
USP: Also known as Rasapuri in Karnataka, this is most commonly used to make juices and pulp. While it offers juicy flesh, it also is known to be very fibrous.

Region: Andhra Pradesh
USP: Also known as Imam Pasand, these mangoes are quite sweet are mainly found in Andhra Pradesh. This variety is especially tasty after mid-May.

Region: Kerala
USP: This is known to be one of the 'premium' variety of mangoes in Kerala and is often exported to its neighbouring south Indian states.

Region: Uttar Pradesh
USP: The name literally means 'sucker'. The variety when ripe turns yellowish in color and it has its origin from Sandila near Hardoi. The variety is known for its exquisite aroma and fleshy pulp.

Region: Kerala
USP: This hybrid variant of mango is known distinctly to be found in Kerala. It is known to grow in clusters and has a sweet-and-sour taste to it.

Region: Uttar Pradesh
USP: It gets its name from the Dashehari village near Mallihabad where the 200-year-old mother tree of variety still lives. It has a green peel but with yellow sweet pulp.

Region: South and Western India
USP: Also known as Kesari in south Indian states, this fruit is named so because of its saffron skin tone. It is juicy and is also a very popular choice with chefs and homemakers because it does not have much fibrous flesh inside.

Lucknowi safeda
Region: Uttar Pradesh
USP: It is another commercially cultivated of mango from UP seeking its origin from Lucknow. The variety is white in colour when raw but takes yellowish tinge when ripe and is known for its juicy pulp.

Region: Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
USP: Also pronounced as Malgova in Karnataka, this variant is known to be one of the biggest to be found in India. A fully ripe fruit of this variety could easily weigh up to two or three kilograms.

Region: Kerala
USP: This variant is found in Kerala throughout the mango season. Most of the foodies prefer to have the moovandan mangoes when its nearly-ripe with salt and spices.

Region: Karnataka

USP: Mallika is a late season mango and it is usually found in the markets around the last weeks of May and in June. This variant is very popular for making fruit juices and pulps.

For Alphonso Mango Enquiries Contact +919148253712
Seven Hills Impex, Bangalore, India

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Pomegranate Season

It's Pomegranate season, and harvest is ready for sale. What are You waiting for?

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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Sona Masoori Rice Nutrition

Sona Masoori Rice Nutrition
Sona masoori is a type of Indian white rice, mostly grown in the areas of Andra Pradesh and Karnataka in India, according to the Spices of India website. It is a medium-grain, aromatic rice that is lightweight and low in starch. Sona masoori is typically used in dishes such as sweet pongal, biryani, idlis and fried rice. Knowing its nutrition information can help you determine how it fits into your meal plan.

A 45-gram serving of dry sona masoori rice, which is equivalent to about 1 cup of cooked rice, contains 160 calories. By comparison, a 45-gram serving of uncooked long-grain rice contains 164 calories. Balancing your calorie intake is essential for weight maintenance and long-term health. Knowing the amount of calories in a serving of sona masoori rice can make it easier for you to track and balance your calorie intake.


Most the calories in the sona masoori rice come from its carbohydrate content. That same 45-gram serving of dry rice contains 35 grams of carbohydrates. Sona masoori rice does not contain any fiber. Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient, and should provide most of your caloric intake. They provide your body with energy and promote the proper functioning of your heart, brain, liver and kidneys. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommend that you obtain 45 to 65 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, most of which should derive from nutritious foods. While moderate amounts of low-fiber grains fit within a healthy diet, choose higher fiber varieties, such as brown rice, wild rice and oats, most often.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Production Technology of Organic Basmati Rice

Production Technology of Organic Basmati Rice
Production Technology of Organic Basmati RiceThe success of the green revolution in the country in recent decades has often marked significant externalities affecting natural resources and human health as well as agriculture itself.  Environmental and health problem associated with agriculture have been increasingly well documented. Increasing consciousness about conservation of environment as well as health hazards has brought a major shift in consumer preference towards food quality. In India organic farming has received considerable attention during 2000 and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation constituted a Task Force on Organic Farming.

Production Technology of Organic Basmati RiceOrganic farming is an alternative agriculture, which has been proposed as a solution to problems associated with inputs of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It is based on ecological approach to nutrient supply and crop protection rather than a chemical one. In ‘tarai’ of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, rice is a major crop during the ‘kharif’ season, with quality rice as an important component of its cultivation due to domestic and export demand. Rice is involved with the lives of millions of people on this earth and almost half of the Indian population consumes it as the staple food. Basmati rice is a globally reputed aromatic group of rice, having pleasant aroma, superfine grain (> 6.5 mm long) along with extensive kernel elongation and soft texture of cooked rice. Production of high quality basmati rice is therefore a major concern of future agricultural strategy.

Basmati is long grain aromatic rice grown for many centuries in the specific geographical area, at the Himalayan foot hills of Indian sub-continent, blessed with characteristics extra- long slender grains that elongate at least twice of their original size with a characteristics soft and fluffy texture upon cooking, delicious taste, superior aroma and distinct flavor, Basmati rice is unique among other aromatic long grain rice varieties.
Agro- climatic conditions of the specific geographical area as well as method of harvesting, processing and aging attribute these characteristic features to Basmati rice. Owning to its unique characteristics the “scented Pearl” lends a touch of class that can transform even the most ordinary meal into a gourmet’s delight. Production of high quality basmati rice is therefore a major concern of future agricultural strategy. The areas of Basmati Rice production in India are in the states of J & K, Himanchal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand and western Uttar Pradesh.India is the leading exporter of the Basmati Rice to the global market. The leading aromatic fine quality rices in world trade popularly known as Basmati rice is fetching good export price in the international markets. The surge in basmati rice demand overseas set the cash registers of exporters ringing and it also bode well for the Indian farmers who contribute nearly 70% to country's basmati output.  About two third of basmati rice produced in India is exported. The country has exported 37, 57,271.44 MT of Basmati Rice to the world for the worth of Rs. 29,299.96 crores during the year 2013-14. Cultivation of organic basmati rice needs standard package of practices for its successful production and farmer’s profitability. When a farmer grows organic rice, next ‘rabi’ crop is also important to complete a cropping system under organic mode of cultivation. In Tarai conditions, quality rice and chickpea cropping system under organic mode of cultivation has been found successful.

Production Technology of Organic Basmati Rice

Land preparation
With organic farming, it is better to provide nutrient to soil and let soil feed the rice crop. Generally green manure must be preferred to other organic fertilizer because green manure is easier to handle and more effective in supplying nutrients for growing organic rice. When green manuring is to be done, one irrigation followed by two harrowing should be practiced. This is followed by sowing green manure crop ( Sesbania/ Crotalaria species).

Quality rice including traditional aromatic rice because of low nitrogen requirement are better suited for organic farming although high yielding varieties can be also cultivated organically.  Basmati - 370, Taraori Basmati, Dehraduni Basmati (Type-3),  Pusa Basmati-1, Pant Sugandha Dhan 15,  Pant Sugandha Dhan 17, Pant Sugandha Dhan 21, Pusa Sugandha – 2, Pusa Sugandha – 5, Pusa 1121. Traditional scented cultivars like Kalanamak, Hansraj, Basmati Safeda, Bindli and Tilak chandan can also be grown suitably under organic farming

Nursery raising
Nursery for the scented varieties should be sown by 15 th June so that transplanting could be done by July 15 th. Ripening during cool weather in considered to favor the development and retention of aroma in grains of Basmati rice. The approximate nursery area required is 500 - 700 m 2 for transplanting 1 ha. When water is scarce, the pre-germinated seeds could be sown on 15 cm high beds of convenient length and 1.5 m width. Total of 20-25 kg seeds /ha is required for long grain basmati varieties.

Seed Treatment
Salt solution (15 %) is prepared for dipping the seed. This salt solution concentration can be tested with fresh egg which floats in the solution. Thereafter seed selected for nursery should be poured in salt solution. Seeds in the solution should be stirred and the floating seed should be discarded. The solution is then poured off to another bucket and those seeds are selected which is settled in the solution. This salt solution can again be used.   
After treatment with salt solution, pre-hydration of seeds for 20-24 hours is done for advancing germination. Seeds are thereafter dried in shade to decrease their moisture content and facilitate their free flow during drilling. Before sowing seed must be treated with Tricoderma and Pseudomonas @ each of 5 g/kg seed or Pant bio-agent 3 (mixture of Pseudomonas and Tricoderma) @ 10gm/kg seed. Precaution must be taken that the treated seed should not be exposed to the direct sunlight.

Nutrient management in nursery
Poor nursery is a major problem under organic mode due to various nutrient deficiencies and poor growth of seedlings. To have optimum growth of seedlings following nutrient management practices should be followed.
Sowing of Crotalaria juncea shall be done by first week of April. Allow Crotalaria to grow for 45 days with irrigation as and when required. Incorporate it on the dry soil and apply water after incorporation. After 12-15 days prepare the field for nursery. Rock phosphate if available may be applied @ 1 kg/10m2 at the time of Crotalaria incorporation.
After incorporation of green Application of 25 kg FYM and 100 g ZnSO4 / 10 m2 is recommended for raising nursery. In addition to this, if zinc deficiency is observed in nursery, 2 sprays of ZnSO4 (0.5%) + lime (0.25%) in water at 10 and 20 days after sowing is recommended. Spray of ZnSO4 may be done with five time diluted vermi-wash / compost leachate.
Leachate of vermicompost (10%) + Neem cake (10%) + Cow urine (10%) along with Tricoderma and Pseudomonas  (@ each of 5 gm/l) may spray in the nursery after 15 days which will supplement the partial nutrient requirement of the nursery crop and protect seedlings from insects and diseases.
Nutrient sources and management for main field
In organic cultivation of rice crop, we feed the soil micro and macro organisms, which deliver a smorgasbord of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients to the crop at metered pace. Nutrient management is one of the important components of organic rice cultivation. Basmati rice crop required about 90-120 kg N, 40-60 Kg P2O5 and 40 kg K2O depending on the type of cultivars of organic rice. Most of the organic sources which could be utilized for the fulfillment of N needs can meet the requirement for P, K and other nutrient requirements. Organic farming in the long run may not show the problem of micronutrient deficiency particularly Zn in rice. Initially, zinc deficiency may appear and it must be corrected by spraying Zn SO4 @0.5% (5 kg and 2.5 kg Lime in 1000 L of water per hectare) can be done.

Details of nutrient sources and management for basmati rice production are described as under:
Nutrient sources and management for main field (A) Green Manure: Green Manure crop of Sesbania aculeata and Crotalaria juncea can be the best source of nutrition which can taken before transplanting of rice. Sesbania or Crotalaria green manure crop can be sown in last week of April to first fortnight of May with seed rate of 25-30 kg/ha. Generally broadcasting of green manure seeds is practiced. However, better green manure crop can be raised if line sowing is adopted at 45 cm row spacing. One pre-sowing irrigation with 1-2 irrigations in between green manure crops depending on summer rains are sufficient for their growth. Trichoderma (5 g/L) and Pseudomonas (5 g/L) should be sprayed on standing Sesbania /Crotalaria green manure crop. In-situ green manure crop should be turned down around 55-60 days after sowing which can contribute approximately 75-100 kg N/ha, 25-30 kg P2O5 /ha and 75-100 kg K2O/ha fulfilling the nutritional requirement of organic basmati rice crop .
(B) FYM: If available, well decomposed FYM should be applied @ 20 t/ha, which can supply about 75-100 kgN/ha, 35-40 kg P2O5/ha and 75-100 kg K2O/ha. FYM should be decomposed and Tricoderma and Pseudomonas each @ 1kg/pit or Pant bio-agent 3 (mixture of Pseudomonas and Tricoderma @ 2kg/pit) must be applied during decomposition. Trichoderma and Pseudomonas not only helps in decomposing the FYM faster but also improves the quality of FYM and resist to the crop from diseases.  Water should be sprayed at regular intervals (at least once after bioagent application) and 15 and 7 days before FYM use to maintain moisture.
Azolla(C) Azolla: Inoculation of Azolla bio-fertilizer at 7 days after transplanting of rice crop @ 2 t/ha in standing water and its growth during the rice crop adds organic matter and nitrogen to the soil which will be a beneficial practice for nitrogen nutrition of organic rice. The Azolla incorporation at the time of puddling of rice soil @ 6t/ha can also provide about 25-30 kg N/ha. For Azolla incorporation we need to produce required amount of biomass in multiplication tanks/ponds.

(D) Vermi-Compost :  Application of Vermicompost @ of 10 tonne /ha (dry weight basis) can meet out the nutrient requirement of organic rice. Vermicompost can be fortified with Trichoderma and Pseudomonascultures (@ 1.0 kg/100kg) which will enhance their quality.

Enriched compost (E) Enriched compost: Various methods of composting for nutrients enrichment through rock phosphate, pyrite and micro-organism have better quality with respect to N, P, K and S content. The rate of application of enriched compost should be 10 t/ha (dry weight basis). In case of acute  P deficiency as in hills, application of Rock Phosphate @ 5q/ha once in three years may take care of phosphorus nutrition of the organic rice in addition to application of FYM.

After incorporation of green manure crop 20 kg N should be given through well decomposed FYM/Vermicompost/Enriched compost for two years; after then only in-situ Sesbania green manuring will be sufficient to provide nutritional requirement for basmati rice.
It has observed that application of integrated sources organic responded better as compared to single alone source. After green manuring one third dose (2.5 t/ha) of the nitrogen should be given through vermicompost after 20-25 days of transplanting. Integration of FYM + Vermicompost + Enriched compost + Neem cake (1/4+1/4+1/4+1/4) found to be better. Application of FYM and enriched compost as basal and vermicompost and neem cake as top dressing at 20-25 days after transplanting was found to be better practice.
Immediately after incorporation of green manure/one day after incorporation rice transplanting may be done. The incorporation of green manure crop could easily be done with the tractor drawn puddler. Depending on duration of the variety, 25-30 day old seedling of rice should be transplanted. Before transplanting roots of seedlings may be dipped in suspension of Pseudomonas fluorescens (@5 g/l).   Planting geometry of 15 × 15 cm. (row to row × hill to hill) to be maintained in organic rice cultivation so that 1 m2 area has about 50 hills. Square geometry has smothering effect on weeds.

Weed Management:
Growing of green manure crops, puddling and efficient water management reduces the occurrence of weeds under transplanted condition. When FYM or other organic sources are applied, 2 hand weddings (one at 20-25 days and another at 40-45 days after transplanting) or two mechanical weeding with conoweeder will result in efficient management of weeds. In direct seeded crop 2-3 hand weedings up to the age of 45 days will result in satisfactory control of weeds. 

Water Management:
Under submerged soil condition, 2-5 cm of standing water should be maintained for 15-20 days to control the weeds after then saturated conditions are more appropriate. In case of uplands, 2-5 irrigations depending on rainfall of the region should be given. The crop should not suffer from water stress in the critical period of the growth i.e. from panicle initiation to flowering in any case particularly under organic farming system. However, continuous stagnation of water also promotes infestation of diseases and insects. At the time of attack of insects and diseases, water should be drained out.

Disease and Pest managementDisease and Pest management
The important insect- pest and diseases have been briefly discussed below:
Stem borer: Basmati rice is mainly attacked by yellow stem borer. The attack commences right from seedling stage and continues up to grain formation stage. The adult females lay eggs in leaves. The caterpillars come out which creep to the lower plant parts wherefrom they bore into the lower portion of the stem to get inside causing dead hearts. If infestation takes place at earing stage, white grainless ears emerge which are called white ear heads. In Pusa Basmati-1 attack is of medium intensity, however, one has to be vigilant right from early plant growth stage.

Disease and Pest managementLeaf folder: It is also one of the main insect-pest of basmati rice. Adult leaf folders are small in size. Their caterpillars damage the crop. The caterpillars fold the both corners of the leaves and remain into the folded leaf wherefrom they eat away the green matter of the leaves leaving white stripes thereupon. The damaged leaves slowly dry up and the plant becomes weak resulting in reduced productivity.

Rice HopperRice hoppers: There are mainly two types of plant hoppers viz., white backed and brown plant hopper and small in size. Female lays eggs inside lower leaves on the stem @ 200-400 eggs per 8-10 days. The young one start sucking plant sap from the stem immediately after coming out of the eggs. The infested fields present masses of dried plants bearing spots identical to burnt spots and hence it is called hopper-burn. Moisture and excess of nitrogen serve as the predisposing conditions for rapid multiplication of hoppers, therefore, drain the water for about 5-6 days if possible.  In rice fields, there exist a good deal of natural predators and different types of spiders which prey upon hoppers.

Gandhi bugGandhi bug:  Grey green adults measuring 15 mm in length and can be identified by their smell. Both the adults and the young ones suck the milky grains leaving dull whitish spots on the grains resulting in unfilled grains. For this, the field bunds should be kept free of weeds. When there are one or more bugs per hill spray neem based insecticide

Hispa : Its black coloured adults and caterpillars which scraps the green matter from the leaves to eat away the same and the leaves get dried up.

Diseases: Important diseases of rice are brown spot (Helminthosporium oryzae), blast (Magnaporthe grisea), sheath blight (Rhizoctonia solani) and bacterial blight (Xanthomonas campestris cv. oryzae).

Integrated Management of Diseases and Pests:
I. General precautions:

Selection of the resistant and well adopted varieties for specific areas.
Selection of the clean and diseased free seeds.
Proper agronomical practices like optimum planting time and seedling age, planting geometry, depth of planting, etc.
Good water management for example at the time of attack of insects and diseases, water should be drained out.
Avoid planting under full or partial shade to avoid bacterial blight (BLB). Once BLB attacks plants in shade these plants become source of inoculums for remaining field.
II. During nursery sowing:

Seed treatment with salted water followed by Trichoderma harzianum and Pseudomonas fluorescens (@ each 5g/kg seed) orPant Bio-agent-3 @ 10 g/kg seed.
Apply one pheromone trap for stem borer per 100 m2 nursery area.
III. During Field preparation:

Apply FYM/vermicompost pre-colonized with Trichoderma harzianum (TH) and Pseudomonas fluorescens (PsF).
After incorporation of green manure, spray Trichoderma harzianum and Pseudomonas fluorescens @ each 5g/liter of water just at the time of incorporation of green manure crop.
IV. After transplanting till maturity

After transplanting till maturityUse pheromone traps (5 mg pheromone per trap; 20 traps/ha; 20 x 25 m distance) within a week of transplanting for stem borer and replace lure after 30 days. Maintain height of trap at 50 cm in nursery and early stage of the crop. As a plant grows height of the traps should be raised so as they are all the time approx. 30 cm above crop canopy.

Avoid water stagnation.
Spray of 2-5% neem oil or 10% cow urine fortification with neem leaves (one week before application) along with Trichoderma harzianum and Pseudomonas fluorescens (5 g /l) or Pant Bio Agent-3 (10 g/l) which will control the insects as well as diseases.Three to four sprays are to be given at 10-15 days interval starts from active tillering stage. Precautionary measures should adopted for controlling insects, pest and diseases. Therefore, spraying may be continued before attack of insects and diseases.
Foliar spray of 5% vermiwash /compost tea treated with Trichoderma harzianum and Pseudomonas fluorescens will also full fill the nutritional requirement and protect the rice crop from broad spectrum diseases.

Traditionally, rice is manually harvested by hand using simple tolls like sickle and threshing is also performed manually. Manual harvesting is done when 80 per cent panicles have turned golden yellow. However, combine harvest machine or threshing machine is replacing traditional methods. In such cases, the risk of organic grain mixing arises, so it is hardly recommended that the machine is properly cleaned before switching to handling organic crop. Harvested seeds should be cleaned properly and should be graded as per standard procedures. Rice grain should have 15 % moisture before storage.


Taroari and Dehraduni Basmati  or Type-3 (2.5-3.5 t/ha), Hansraj (2.5-3.0t/ha), (2.5-3.5 t/ha) and Kala Namak (1.5-3.0 t/ha), high yielding basmati varieties viz. Pusa Basmati 1, Pusa 1121, Pusa Sugandha 5, Pusa 1509 (3.5-4.5 t/ha).