FARMER’S CHOICE: S.Raja Mohamed. Assistant Director of Horticulture, Vilathikulam, inspecting a crop of yam at Karisalkulam village in Tuticorin district.
Rs 2.5 lakh net profit from one acre, says farmer
TUTICORIN: Thanks to the peculiar climate prevailing in Vilathikulam taluk, farmers in this tract opted for the cultivation of elephant foot yam (chena kilangu).
Conducive agro-climatic conditions, especially photoperiodic response and positive activation of corm development, humid warm weather during vegetative phase with cool and dry weather during corm development period, friable soil condition with good drainage, have encouraged the area of yam cultivation at around 100 acres in villages like Karisalkulam, A.Kumarapuram, Kuruvarpatti, Nagalapuram of Vilathikulam taluk in Tuticorin district, according to S.Raja Mohamed, Assistant Director of Horticulture, Vilathikulam.
Farmers of these villages prefer yam to conventional crops such as chillies as they are comfortable with its yield and the attractive price they get for their corms in Tirunelveli and Nagercoil markets during Pongal season.
Belonging to tropical Africa and Asia in its origin, the corms are rich sources of carbohydrates and minerals like calcium and phosphorus. The corm is used as a vegetable as well as for preparations like chips, pickles and others. The plant has also got medicinal values.
“A well drained sandy loam with adequate nutrient and moisture status is well suited for the growth and development of corms. It is also essential to have proper drainage facility in soil, as stagnant water is likely to damage the corm. Moisture availability in soil significantly influences the yield,” Mr. Mohamed told The Hindu here on Sunday.
In some cases, the mother corm is cut into pieces weighing 750 gm to 1,000 gm in such a way that each piece has a portion of the central bud from where the future bud initiates after planting. Usually, the cut pieces of corms are planted from the third week of April to the second week of May.
Thus with the onset of summer shower or monsoon rains the yams would sprout and it would be able to take advantage of the rains for its growth and corm production. Elephant foot yams would be ready for harvest by 7-10 months for a lucrative yield of about 75 to 100 tonnes in a hectare, Mr. Mohamed added.
P.Ponnusamy of Ayan Pommaiyapuram, a traditional yam grower, who has cultivated it on six acres, said he could harvest 30 tonnes in an acre and get Rs 3 lakh from an acre against the cost of cultivation of Rs 40,000 to Rs 50, 000. “I will be getting Rs 2.5 lakh as net profit from an acre if the agro climatic conditions and marketing are good,” he said.
In most parts of the tropical world, yam cultivation is a costly affair, mainly due to high labour input and lack of quality seed material. Yams have an important place among the tuber crops of the world. Integrated nutrient management practices, if adopted, would reduce cost of cultivation considerably. Elephant foot yam has an important position among tuber crops, since it happens to be highly remunerative to farmers.