Melia dubia tree holds promise of good returns for ryots

One of the main problems that farmers face today is decreasing income from an acre per year against sudden increase in the value of agricultural lands due to newly formed rural roads, mushrooming of industries, and concrete dwellings.

This forces several small farmers to sell their lands and settle in urban concrete jungles.

Low income

Diminishing income from an acre against increasing land value, forces many farmers to sell their lands. A family of 4 members need a monthly income of Rs.40,000 from an acre if they have to survive. But today from an acre one gets anything between Rs.10,000 to Rs.12,000.

“How is this enough? Naturally he prefers to sell his lands than continue farming. If we are keen that farming lands should not be sold then we must ensure income generation of at least Rs.20,000 to Rs.30,000 from an acre a year,” explains Dr. G. Kumaravelu, Member, Tamil Nadu Planning Commission and former Chief Conservator of Forests, Tamil Nadu.

Easy method

The easiest way to increase income from an acre is by planting certain tree varieties such Melia dubia ( Malai Vembu in Tamil) which fetch a handsome price in the market, assured buyback, and require low maintenance expenditure.

In addition, the trees also aid the planet by preventing temperature rise and checking gas emission into the atmosphere as the trees are naturally endowed to absorb maximum CO{-2}.

Money spinner

Melia is a money spinning tree of short duration. Even if planted as a single row along the field bunds, about 60 trees can be planted per acre, which will fetch an income of about Rs.2 lakhs in the sixth year of planting.

“Since there is a total mismatch between demand and supply for wood and veneer, block planting of 300 to 400 trees per acre can ensure a minimum profit of rupees one lakh per year from an acre.

Under good maintenance and controlled irrigation from sixth year onwards, depending on the soil depth and quality trees of 80 to 100 cm gbh with a clear bole of 5 metres height can fetch Rs.4, 000 at today's price (7 per cent escalation can be added per year for the sale price).

Intercultivation can be done with annual crops in the first three years and then spices such as pepper can be grown.

Single row planting

Even if planted in a single row along the field bunds, about 60 trees can be planted at six feet spacing which will fetch an income of about Rs.2 lakhs in the sixth year.

Under high density planting with 1,000 to 1,500 trees in an acre, a yield of 40 to 50 tonnes is possible from the second and third year of planting.

“As the demand for Melia wood is quite high, minimum profit of about Rs.40,000 per year from an acre can be ensured for the farmers today,” says, Dr. Kumaravelu.

Pest infestations

Regarding pest infestations affecting this tree Dr. Kumaravelu says, “the variety is susceptible to root rot. Only optimum irrigation is required .

While planting the seedlings application of 2-3 kgs of vermicompost, 40 gms of Phosphobacteria, Azospirillum and Trichoderma Viride each in addition to 10-20 gms of Pseudomonas and 100 grams of VAM (vesicular arbuscular mycoriza) helps in promoting good growth.

Buy back

“Interested farmers who want to buy the seedlings can contact our office and we are willing to guide them right from purchasing the seedlings to buy back,” assures Dr. Kumaravelu.

For information contact Dr. G. Kumaravelu, State Planning Commission, 5th floor, Ezhilagam, Chepauk, Chennai: 600005, email:, Phone: 044-28545482 (Off).

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2021 3:50:31 AM |

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