Learn beyond textbooks. July 22, 2020 will be a special day for people of Kannapuram

India is a country rich in diversity of species; and we in Kerala, are living in one of the three biodiversity hotspots.

So it is no different, in the case of Kannapuram:  a  village tucked on Kannur - Payyannur highway.

The village is famed for its sacred groves, rich deposits of china clay - which nurtures clay pottery as a major industry.

But this year the village will be known for a better reason on google maps. July 22, on National Mango Day, the Kannapuram village will be declared an ‘Indigenous Mango Heritage Area’.

The credit of this label goes to 10 families in Kuruvakkavu area of Kannapuram village panchayat.

Initiated by Shyju Machathi, the facebook group ‘നാട്ടുമാഞ്ചോട്ടിൽ  – Mango Lovers Kerala’, promoted collecting local varieties of mangoes.

"The cutting down of a 200-year-old mango tree in our village prompted us to take such a step. It was a special variety, and we didn’t want to lose it. With the help of the regional Agriculture dept., pieces of our 'heritage tree' were grafted, to saplings in the village" - recalls Shyju.

Under "asexual reproduction" concept, we have learned that "scion" is a detached living portion of a plant joined to a stock in grafting and usually supplying solely aerial parts to a graft.

Scion from the 200-year-old mango tree - it may be a short piece of detached shoot that contains several dormant buds or a single bud (bud graft or budding), is united with the rootstock of other mango varieties.

Let us remember here, that the quality of fruits produced when a scion is grafted to a stock will be determined by the genotype of the scion. The fruits are produced on the branches of the shoot system developed by the growth of the scion.

Today the group proudly hosts 107 mango graft varieties that are found in a 200-metre radius from Kuruvakkavu area. 'തേങ്ങാ-മാങ്ങ' (mango the size of coconut),  'സുവർണ്ണ ചെറിയൻ' (small with golden shade), 'കുല നിറയൻ' (bunch full) are some of the indigenous varieties preserved here, by grafting...definitely it is a great step towards conserving biodiversity.

The facebook group has identified 203 native varieties in the Kannapuram Panchayat of which 102 have been grafted. They have been handed over the grafts to the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) at Kerala Agricultural university centre, Vellanikkara, Thrissur. Here plant breeders can use clone selection, to preserve these indigenous varieties.

Stories like this fb page ‘നാട്ടുമാഞ്ചോട്ടിൽ  – Mango Lovers Kerala’ are inspiring, whereby we can search for a heritage tree in our vicinity and source the scions for grafting.

In our rapid pace of urbanisation when habitat loss leads to loss of indigenous varieties, 
similar such steps can work miracles in our efforts towards biodiversity conservation.


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