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  • Cashew yield in Pachamalai hit

    May 9th, 2016

    Cashew cultivation in Pachamalai forms a major livelihood for tribal farmers and on an average, every family in 16 major villages owns at least five to six cashew trees, indicating the assured income from the cash crop. The farmers had resorted to conventional cultivation practices, using cashew seeds. No graft technique had been adopted, as they were not aware of the advantages of the grafting pattern which is widely practised now.According to a cross section of farmers, though they had cultivated cashew, they do not adopt any crop protection techniques. The crop is subjected to two types of problems – withering of flowers during excess humidity – a phenomenon observed during the December-January; problem caused by stem borer which brings down the yield. Against 50 to 60 kg a tree, the yield is reduced anywhere between 40 and 50 kg.

    To tide over the problem being faced by the cashew farmers due to conventional practices, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has introduced six-year ‘Integrated Tribal Development Project’ for adopting latest cultivation practices. Under the project, being implemented through the service organisation Hand-in-Hand, the NABARD has covered 41 villages – 16 villages in the Tiruchi side and 25 villages in the Salem district, as the Pachamalai is spread over both districts.Under the project, ‘VRI 3’ variety, grafted saplings with high yielding variety had been raised in 970 select villages – 543 in Tiruchi district and the balance 427 in Salem district. “We develop one orchard in one acre, raising 40 cashew saplings and 54 mango saplings,” says an official source. The cashew would be ready for harvest by 2018 and the mango, the following year.Though the Integrated Tribal Development Project aims at adopting latest agricultural practices, the NABARD and the Hand-in-Hand have been extending assistance to the cashew farmers to protect the trees from the impact of stem borer. “We supply bio fertilisers such as ‘pancha kavya’ to check the adverse impact of stem borers on the standing cashew,” sources said.