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  • Govt to infuse new life into old cashew plantations

    Aug 16th, 2018

    With the state posting annual increase in the cashew production, the government is all set to rejuvenate about 5,000 hectares of old cashew plantations in next 10 years to further increase the yield of cashew in Goa. The department of agriculture will implement the cashew plantation rejuvenation scheme under the National Horticulture Mission.

    Presently, the total area with the Goa Forest Development Corporation under cashew cultivation is 8,971.037 hectares. During the year 2017-18, the cashew production in Goa was 28,012 tonne as compared to 24,396 tonne in 2016-17 and 17,549 in 2015-2016. The corporation does not harvest but auctions the cashew plantation. In 2017-18, Rs 2,02,01,005 was the total amount received, while the revenue was about Rs 2,252 per hectare.

    Incidentally, the GFDC was in loss of Rs 26.29 lakh as per the audited financial statement for the year 2014-15, and account of remaining years are still being finalised. The cashew stem borer is the major problem in many cashew plantations, and if this pest infestation if left untreated then it results in death of the tree.

    It has been roughly estimated that up to 10 per cent mortality can occur in such neglected cashew plantations annually. The effective control of cashew stem borer is not possible without the use of chemical pesticide at present. However, some steps could help in reducing cashew stem borer infestations in organic plantations. These include avoiding physical damage to the stem and roots while applying manures, etc by taking due care; taking up deeper planting of grafts and heaping soil around stem to prevent root exposure above the ground, and practising clean cultivation to avoid damage due to fire which predisposes trees to infestation. Also any infestation can be detected early.

    Through its schemes and initiatives, the agriculture directorate has been making efforts to control these pests as assistance up to 75 per cent of cost towards purchase of pesticides, fungicides, bio-control agents – maximum up to Rs 4,500 per ha limited to Rs 18,000 or 4 ha per beneficiary – is provided the under state sector scheme to cashew cultivators, pertaining to crop production input management.