Perdoor village is all set to emerge as a centre for black pepper production in Udupi district, thanks to an initiative by the Department of Horticulture.
Some farmers in the village and its surrounding areas were already growing pepper. Black pepper is basically grown as an intercrop in arecanut, coconut and cashew plantations in the district.
According to the department, the land under black pepper cultivation had gone up from 267 hectares (ha) in 2008-09 to 383 ha in 2013-14 in the district. Total production of black pepper in the district is 148 metric tonnes, with a yield of 0.39 tonnes per hectare.Pepper cluster
Since pepper is a climbing vine, farmers grow them under the arecanut, coconut and other trees. The Horticulture Department is developing a black pepper cluster in Perdoor under the Integrated Horticulture Development Programme.
Towards this end, the department has formed a Black Pepper Growers Association at Perdoor with 50 farmers. “The objective is to extend pepper cultivation to 32 acres in the village. We will rope in more farmers in the association and give them training on scientific method of cultivation of pepper,” said K.A. Vijay Kumar, Deputy Director of Horticulture.
The farmers have responded positively to the department’s initiative. B.V. Poojary, president of the Black Pepper Growers Association, said he grew black pepper on 500 trees — 400 coconut and remaining arecanut — on his field.
“The price of pepper fluctuates like any other horticultural commodity. But if pepper is cultivated now, farmers can expect to get better price in the coming years. I will increase the area under pepper cultivation on my field,” he said.
Babu Amin, another farmer, said the formation of the association was a positive step. “I want to increase pepper cultivation on my field. I will join the association as I will able to get more facilities and learn about latest techniques of pepper cultivation,” he said.
Shivaram Shetty, president of Perdoor Gram Panchayat, said there was a lot of scope for pepper cultivation in the area. There were 2,800 families in the gram panchayat, with “most of them” owning agricultural fields. “Taking up pepper cultivation will benefit them immensely,” he said.