Horticulture Department officials inspecting elephant foot yam (senai kilangu) cultivated at Kuthiraikulam in Ottapidaram blockof Tuticorin district.— Photo: N. Rajesh
There is demand for the tuber in TN and Kerala: Farmers
Farmers, who raised elephant foot yam (senai kilangu), or Amorphophallus paeniifolius, were a happy lot in the district, as the yield and the price it fetched were good.
Arumugasamy, a farmer from Kuthiraikulam in Ottapidaram block, said he reaped an average yield of 16,000 kilograms per acre. The farmer, who owns two and a half acres, said this year’s harvest fetched him Rs 20 per kg, thanks to the growing demand of this tuber in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
He planted this crop by selecting small-size corms (seed material) after curing them for three months in shade.
The corms planted were cut into small bits in such a way that each pit had at least a small portion of the ring around the bud.
The cut pieces were planted with a spacing of 45 cm x 90 cm on his field. Sprouting region was kept above the soil.
About 1,400 kg of corms were planted on an acre.
This crop would be normally cultivated during June or July and would be ready for harvest during the first fortnight of January. “This eight-month-duration crop requires minimum inter-cultural operation and nutrients.
Hundred kg of urea per acre as basal with kadalai punnakku was applied to increase the vegetative growth of this crop under irrigation method. No pesticide or fungicide was used during cultivation. An expenditure of Rs. 40,000 was incurred per acre,” he said.
According to Deputy Director of Horticulture R. Avudaiyappan, yam contained potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. It also contained calcium, 18.24 per cent of carbohydrate and omega-3 fatty acids which were known to increase good cholesterol level in blood.
Besides, it had vitamin B and vitamin A, he said.
A total area of 150 acres was covered under yam cultivation in rainfed areas of the district in 2014-15, he told The Hindu .
C. Palanivelayutham, Assistant Director of Horticulture, Ottapidaram, said elephant foot yam farmers were provided with drip irrigation facilities at a subsidised cost.