Mangalore/Ajjavara, May 25: It has been proved by the people that in the region, where yellow diseases of areca nut leaves are affected, palm can be used as an alternative crop. Besides they have also proved that labour scarcity can also be mitigated through the cultivation of palm as requirement of laborers are minimal.
While government is thinking about any plants can be used as an alternative in yellow disease affected region, people are already come out with their solution of using palm as an alternative and are capable of facing any challenges/eventualities arising out of areca nut yellow color disease of areca leaves.
In this context an agricultural graduate and an active agriculturist Vasantha Bhat from Thoodikana undertook an extensive tour in different parts of the districts and acquired tremendous knowledge /experience by meeting various authorities concerned.
Starting from Sampaje in Coorg and Chembu villages, six villages of Sullia taluk, the disease of yellow disease of areca leaves already prevalent in the area, Vasantha Bhat realized the fact four years before only that palm can be grown in place of areca and gathered enough knowledge about this.
Vasantha Bhat, besides having pressurized government for extending this palm project to district level also arranged two meetings to create awareness about the same amongst people and encouraged the people to plant 1000 plants in disease affected garden. Nicely and healthy grown plants of palm in his farm is role model for others to emulate Bhat’s efforts.
He further said, his neighbor Keshava Prasad has grown 90 palm plants in his one and half acres of land during past one year and now it is beautifully grown.
He said this palm tree is being extensively grown in countries like Africa, North-east Asia and America. The scientific name for this plant is “Iliyas giniyannis” and being used as edible oil and also can be used as Bio-Diesel.
As the production of this plant is very less in the country, government has not accorded permission to use as Bio-Diesel. In open places of the state and ghats area palm had been growing since long time and 70% of the shortage of palm oil is being imported from other countries, it stated.
In order to encourage the growers to promote the production of palm trees, government has announced several package schemes and compensation is being given through several means. It has also been advised that through agreement of private companies, farmers can grow palm plantation in their yards.
Companies are offering consultations, awareness, guidance and required knowledge and they themselves buy the products after negotiating the price.
In view of promoting the palm production in Dakshina Kannada, North Kannada and Belgaum, government has appointed Godrej Agrovet Company for the guidance of the people. Company will train the farmers starting from providing seeds, method of sowing, irrigation and usage of fertilizer by visiting houses of each farmer by the officers. After three years, they will buy the bunches from the farmers. Although both central and state government has fixed the rate of Rs 5/per bunch, at present company is buying at the rate of Rs 7.50/ per bunch.
Though the life span of the plant is more, within year of plantation, plant will start giving fruits. For the healthy growth of the plant, flowers should be removed for three years and starting from fourth year, yield would be continued for 30-35 years. In one month 2-3 times bunches can be reaped. If plant is taken care of with due care, more result can be expected, it says.
Like in the case of coconut tree, palm trees can also be destroyed by Rhainoferous (the bumble bee=Dhumbi).Pheromin TraCEA can be used to prevent nuisance of bee and one gram of Demet medicine to be tied around each plant. No special treatment and need of labours like in the case of areca nut plantation. One labour is enough to harvest every fifteen days time. No other expenses incurred like any other products as the products can be sold on the same day of harvest. No need of warehouse to store even.
There are different types of palms plants, In view of the climatic condition of this region, Thanera Hybrid family is highly recommended for this region. The ideal temperature for the cultivation of this plant is between 18-35 degree centigrade and like coconut tree, the distance between one plants to another plant should be 9 metre.
57 plants can be planted in one acre of land and 147 plants can be planted in one hectares of land.As the sun light is required, this plant cannot be grown indoor and can be grown only where source of water is abundant. During summer watering of the plant is suggested.
It has been reported that many farmers are coming forward to grow this plant after seeing the success of other farmers in the region. As the demand for the plants is increased, nurseries are trying to meet the demands of the farmers in a better way as informed by the field officer Ravishankar.