Is there a purpose behind this mother and son duo tying bags/masking each Mango on the tree?

anita and utsav mertia

While tying the bags to the mangoes, you have to ensure that there is ample space for the mango to grow fully. Ideally, you should choose bags that are triple the standard size of the mangoes. In case there is an accumulation of water, dirt or dry leaves inside the bag, then the mangoes won’t come in touch with that layer, and there is no risk of rotting,” Utsav, the son of a farming enthusiast and an ardent lover of farming himself, says. Mangoes and bags tied to them? What is this all about? We must have never seen mangoes on the trees tied with bags. It's all unusual. Is it to fulfil any traditional custom or any superstition? Let's take a closer look at the work of Anita and Utsav Mertia who are doing something creative and unique in order to yield the best of mangoes. 

Mertia Family - A Family of Ideas: 

Anita and her son Utsav belong to the Mertia family and hail from Gorakhpur. They own multiple businesses that include jewellery stores and automobiles. Thus Utsav also grew up among the bubbling ideas and innovative thoughts of his entrepreneurial family members. His mother Anita also is an enterprising mother who pours her innovative ideas into businesses. She is also an eco-enthusiast and garnered her love for plants as she hails from a family with a farming background. 20 years ago, Anita came to live in New Chandragupt Nagar post her marriage. There, she noticed that there were hardly any trees and the colony had an ample amount of fallow land. She thus decides to launch a plantation drive herself. She planted mango trees and lychees. With some of them surviving and with some not, currently, there are close to 50 mango trees of the Amrapali and Dussheri varieties. She, along with her son Utsav planted 20 mango trees which give yield close to about 1000kg every summer. They use vermicompost, cow dung manure and organic compost obtained from fallen leaves to boost the yield. 

Unique Thought To Promote The Growth Of Mangoes: 

Anita, who turned her passion for nurturing plants into a fruitful business, along with her son, initiated a new step that bars the use of pesticides every time. They have covered the mangoes in small biodegradable pouches which in turn help them grow organically without any external disturbance from pests and other small animals. These, they call fruit masks are the bags that not only act as organic pest repellant but also help protect the fruit from natural agents like heavy wind and rain. Utsav says that once the mangoes start ripening, they face attacks from pests, squirrels, birds and even monkeys. "Around 10-15 per cent of our mango production was affected by birds and squirrels. We were considering organic ways to keep them at bay and then we had the idea of these fruit masks,” he said. The mother and son duo started to put their idea into practice. Utsav procured small biodegradable bags which had minute pores on them from the local market. Later, they tied these bags to each mango when they are in their unripe (Tikora) stage. However, as tying bags to each mango was not so easy, the duo hired professional workers who could skillfully climb trees and accomplish the task.

Explaining the importance of these bags, Utsav says, "With ample aeration and rainwater percolation, the mangoes ripen inside the bags while being protected from any external attack. The growth of the mangoes is not affected in any way; instead, they face less risk of falling off at an early stage, even from the occasional gust of wind. While tying the bags to the mangoes, you have to ensure that there is ample space for the mango to grow fully. Ideally, you should choose bags that are triple the standard size of the mangoes. In case there is an accumulation of water, dirt or dry leaves inside the bag, then the mangoes won’t come in touch with that layer, and there is no risk of rotting,”. 

Besides the fruit masks, Anita and Utsav have taken few other steps to keep the harmful pests away from the plants. They have planted Marigold shrubs around the mango trees so that they act well in attracting insects like bees and butterflies thus inviting pollinators. They have also planted Tulsi plants beneath the mango trees as they are known to have natural fungicidal and insecticidal properties. 

Hats off to this mother and son duo who are not only protecting the mangoes but are also allowing them enough space to grow by going completely organic without the use of any kind of unwanted products. May many people follow such eco-friendly practices because it's time we realise that our existence depends on nature's wellness. 

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anita utsav mertia Gorakhpur Amrapali Dussheri mango trees vermicompost fruit masks rainwater percolation aeration