Organic mango production: strategies and methods

Page last updated: Tuesday, 9 February 2021 - 3:47pm

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Many practices are transferable from a conventional system to an organic system of growing mangoes. The major changes will be in nutrient, weed, flowering, pest and disease and postharvest management.

No synthetic fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides or fungicides can be used.

Going organic with mango production

To meet organic certification requirements, conversion from a conventional system to an organic system is likely to involve changes to existing management practices and adoption of some new strategies and techniques. Changes to management go beyond simply not using synthetic chemicals and fertilisers.

This article outlines some of the strategies and methods used by organic mango growers that should be considered when planning conversion of an existing conventional production system. Please note that details provided are general outlines only.  Specific techniques and strategies adopted by individual organic growers will vary according to their circumstances, location of the property and type of enterprise.

Good organic managers rely on close observation, anticipation and prevention to develop a robust and productive organic system tailored to their situation.

Overall management strategies need to reflect the following key organic farming principles:

  • Soil health largely determines plant health.

  • Organic systems are biological systems.

  • Organic farms should operate as closed systems as far as possible.

  • A holistic approach ensures good integration of management practices.

Many of the best management practices developed for conventional mango production apply to organic systems. Efficient irrigation, windbreaks, erosion control, and aspects of integrated pest management (IPM) or integrated weed management (IWM) may be adapted to suit an organic production system. Quality control management systems, preferably incorporating a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) system will assist.

As with other organic farming, mango production requires a whole-farm approach. Increased reliance on management rather than chemicals demands careful planning.

A well designed whole-farm plan should devote special attention to the conversion phase – the first three years of transition from conventional to organic management. During this period practical experience is being developed and market price premiums for ‘in conversion’ product may be less certain.

Mapping out the details of the progressive changes intended will help develop a smooth conversion towards a profitable, productive and sustainable organic system. Such a plan can enable financial risk to be managed and adoption of each new operational component of the organic system can be readily integrated with other farm activities to improve management and enterprise effectiveness.

The major changes relate to the following aspects of a conventional production system:

  • soil fertility and nutrient management

  • orchard floor management

  • irrigation layout

  • weed management

  • flowering habit

  • pest and disease management

  • postharvest treatments.