SCI-TECH & AGRI

Value addition leads to ‘no tension agriculture’

Innovative farming: Mr. Choudhary of Vaishali district in Bihar with the harvested produce.

Innovative farming: Mr. Choudhary of Vaishali district in Bihar with the harvested produce.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: Bihar State Farmers Commission

M.J. PRABU

A hectare fetches the farmer a gross income of Rs. 2 lakhs in 10 months

There are two ways in agriculture for a farmer to earn money. One is by growing and selling the harvested crop, second is to go in for some value added products.

Farmers are encouraged by scientists to try and explore value addition technology areas as it enhances the marketability of the produce.

Compared to selling the raw harvested produce, value addition requires more financial inputs, proper guidelines, and backup technologies to ensure success.

Mr. Shanker Kishore Chaudhary, a progressive small scale farmer of Vaishali district,Bihar, is a farmer who cultivates elephant foot yam (commonly called as Ool in North India) in his three-acre field.

Different recipes

Without stopping with just growing the tuber crop, he has also taken up value added products by creating 33 different varieties of recipes from it such as sweets, pickle, mouth-freshner, and brewing powders similar to the tea.

Elephant foot yam is a tuber crop commonly used as a vegetable and for preparation of pickles and sauce.

The tuber is commonly called as Jimikand or Ool in North India, Sooran in Gujarat and Maharashtra, Kand in Andhra Pradesh, Karnai Kilangu in Tamil Nadu and Suwarnagatti in Karnataka, it is cultivated all over the country.

“This value addition has increased the marketability and has demonstrated immense product potentials of this tuber,” said R. Ramadhar, Chairman, Bihar State Farmers Commission, Patna.

Mr. Chaudhary grows the crop in his field and also takes the lands of other farmers on rent for raising the crop.

“I normally harvest 50-60 tonnes from a hectare of land and earn a gross income of Rs. 2 lakhs in about 10 months.

“The average cost of cultivation in a hectare works out to Rs 1.30 lakhs, ensuring per hectare net profit of Rs 70,000, which is much more than from any other competing crop,” he said.

More income

He has also been growing intercrops such as rajma, pea, ladies finger and banana. “Intercropping further brings me a profit of some Rs. 15,000-20,000 per hectare,” said Mr. Chaudhary.

The crop is generally sown in pits. A tuber of 0.25kg-0.5 kg should be sown in a pit at a distance of 75x75 cms.

If the seed tuber is of bigger size, it can be cut into pieces but each piece must have a bud. Some 6.5-9 tonnes of seed tubers are needed for planting in one hectare.

Fertilizer requirement

It is recommended to use 3 kgs farm yard manure, 10 gm urea, 37.5 gm single super phosphate and 10 gm potash in each pit before sowing.

The seed tuber should be immersed for 15-20 minutes in a solution of 1 litre of water with 2-5 gms emisan and half a gm of streptocycline.

Three months after sowing, 20 gms ammonium sulphate or 10 gms urea should be applied in each pit.

Interculture

“Interculturing should also be done whenever needed since weed can adversely affect the production potential of Ool.

Required irrigation should be given. In Bihar conditions, it requires about 3-4 irrigations during summer months,” said Mr. Ramadhar.

Infestation

The crop was found to be affected by Phytophthora leaf blight infestation which is a fatal disease and application of Dithane M-45 (0.25 per cent) was found effective in reducing its occurrence.

“Bihar is self-sufficient in Ool production at present and there is a good demand for the produce especially in Uttar Pradesh. As a result, marketing is not a problem,” said Mr. Ramadhar.

Marketing support

A number of farmers in the state have adopted Ool farming as a means to supplement their income. Mr. Choudhary provides marketing support to the other yam farmers at a margin of 5 -10 per cent through contract farming.

“Besides the contract agreements between Mr. Choudhary and the farmers, there are individual farmers who have taken up Ool cultivation and sell the products to local traders,” said Mr. Ramadhar.

Mr. Chaudhary calls Ool cultivation “no tension agriculture” as it requires no cold storage, poses no marketing problem, and the income is good.

For more informationr readers can contact Mr. Ramadhar, Chairman, Bihar State Farmers Commission, Pant Bhawan, 1st Floor, Bailey Road, Patna- 800001, e-mail: >ramadhar@vsnl.com and >kisanayog@gmail.com, phone:0612-2206169 and 2232847.



Recommended for you