Effort to make farm profitable

The Aralam Farming Corporation (Kerala) Limited is planning for product diversification and nursery expansion to make the farm profitable.

K.P. Mammootty, the newly appointed Managing Director of the corporation, said that the farm would start coconut oil extraction as part of the product diversification programme.

The farm has 315 ha of area under coconut crops, next only to cashew which is spread over a total extent of 594 ha. The coconut oil extraction unit is already under implementation and the project will be completed shortly. The initial capacity of the unit is extraction of 5,000 nuts per shift and the annual sales turnover is projected as Rs.1 crore.

The company incorporated under the Companies Act 1956 after the entire 3,500 hectares of the farm established by the Central government in 1970 with the assistance of the erstwhile Soviet Union was subsequently taken over by the SC & ST Development Department of the State government for rehabilitation of the Adivasis. While half the area of the farm was allotted for the rehabilitation, the remaining half was retained as the farm under the newly incorporated company.

Dr. Mammootty said that a project for making soft drinks from tender coconut water was also in the pipeline. As the farm is known for its quality planting materials, steps were under way for the expansion of the nurseries.

The farm produces high-yield cashew seedlings, and it has a stock of one lakh saplings.

Farm tourism

Precision farming of cucumber, capsicum and chilli is being planned in a small-scale in the farm, he said adding that vegetable seed production is also being planned.

The farm has total area of 1,466.07 ha under different crops like coconut, rubber, cocoa, cashew, areca nut, among others. As part of diversification of its activities, the farm will also focus on farm tourism, promotion of tribal arts and culture and hi-tech marketing.

As a first step, the company has already started producing quality honey as a brand product of the company.

Wildlife menace

Dr. Mammootty, who was the head of the Pepper Research Station at Panniyur before his new assignment, said that a major problem the farm has been facing is the wildlife menace.The estimated annual loss on account of this problem is Rs.80 lakh. While monkeys are a major problem in the farm, crops are destroyed by elephants as well. Electric fencing along the sensitive areas, construction of walls along the forest boundary are among the solutions considered to end the menace, he said.

If the damage to the coconut from the wildlife menace could be contained, the farm could generate an additional revenue of Rs.633.9 crore over five years, he noted.

  • To start coconut oil extraction

  • Soft drink project in the pipeline