Don’t depend on single crop like arecanut. Go for intercrops.Choose suitable intercrop and get maximum income from it. Annually he is getting Rs. 3 lakhs above income from intercrop. This is the advice of Mr. Subraya, a farmer from Dalavayi Hosakoppa of Soraba taluk Shivamogga dist. Karnataka. Farmer is Executive engineer in BSNL and now he is in retired life. In his ancester property grows arecanut as main crop and inter crop is cardmom.
Most of the farmers choose pepper as intercrop along with arecanut. It is profitable spice crop, but there are some limitations like harvest and disease management. For this purpose Mr. Subraya selected cardamom as intercrop in arecanut garden. It is not a new intercrop for areca gardens. Here almost all arecanut farmers are grown cardamom. But now almost all are shifed to other crops. Comparing to other intercrops, Cardamom is the best crop and more profitable crop says Mr. Subraya.
How it is easy crop:
If you choose pepper as an intercrop at arecanut garden, you can put maximum of 300 plants in the support of arecanut palm. The average income from a vine is around 2-3 kg in arecanut trees. The income from this crop is ok. But disease management is very hardship in areca garden because almost all areca gardens are in waterlogging conditions. Cardamom starts yield in 2 year of planting and gives yield at ground level. It is slightly tolerant excess moisture. His father and forefather are cultivating cardamom in this area. Labours and farmers know the cultivation and management practices of this crop. So that he selected this. Cardamom is the aromatic spicy crop having good demand all over the world. Even in local circumstances also cardmoum having good demand. The price is also good. Now good quality cardamom rate is 1000- 2000 Rs. Per Kg, when we sell it to direct customers. If we sell in market we can get around 1000 Rs. In one acre we can accomadate around 300 plants. Per plant we can get average yield of 1 kg annually. Per acre around 300 kg of cardamoum harvest is minimum. Cardamom yield is variable year by year. So we can expect one kg per plant.
Mr. Subraya selected local variety of cardamom. Its advanatage is pest and disease resistance. There are high yielding varieties also. But the problem is stem borer and pod borers. For this pupose he preferred local variety. Its yield is comparatively 50% less. But maintanence is very easy. He planted high yielding variety like Nallani Gold. The yield is good but maintanence is tough. In his knowledge he did a hybridization process. Crossing of Nallani and local he got a new variety. He observed its character like pest and disease resistance. Now he is planting his own hybrid plants. New hybrid will yield 25% higher than local. Plant vigour, height and suckering is better than local variety.
Hybridization process by pollen crossing from local to Nallani. It is not tough. Before entry of pollinating bees, we have to cross it and cover the flower. Covering the flower spike by PVC pipe to prevent multiple crossing. It is not a complicated process. Every one can do it. The hybrid cardamoum capsules are bigger and longer than local he says.
He is multipliying plants through suckers and seeds. Both are good. Sucker starts yield next year of planting and seed plants take two years.He is having three acres of standing crops and last year he planted around 20 acres at his agro forest area. (SOPPINA BETTA) It is not yielding now.In cardamom June onwards harvesting starts. Every day or alternative days we have to pick the fruits. Upto October continues harvest is required. It is side by work along with other routine works.
In between two rows one row is selected for cardamom plants. Keep 10 feet distancebetween Plants to plant. In 3rd year onwards it cover full area. Another row is empty. It is required space for arecanut and cardamom cultural operations. The life of the plant is arround 10 years. If the plant vigour is not satisfactory, we have to re plant another sucker. It will cover the gap.
Matured cardamom is best:
When we enter into Mr.Subraya’s house, we can notice he is the cardmom grower. His house is coverd by pleasent smell of cardamom. He says if we harvest fully matured cardamom, its smell is like this. No one can hide this smell.
He is harvesting only fully riped capsules. People think that,cardamom skin colour is green. But actually it is not true. Fully matured capsule colour is light yellow. When we dried it, its collour become whitish brown.We can get real aroma of the cardamom in this type of fruits. Inside the fruit we can find dark black seeds. Its taste and aroma are peculiar and realistic. When we chew this seeds it gives sweetness first and next a cooling effect with smell. He is selling his product to some tourist places like Jog falls, Gokarna, and other some places. He is packing in the weight of 100 gram, 200 gm, 500 gram, 1 kg. Any person smell this he don’t miss to buy this because of its pleasant smell. It is not artificially dried. Actual content of cardamom is present in this. Cardamoum comes to harwest in rainy season. In this time it is essentila to dry it by artificial drying. For drying purpose he designed a simple dryer made up of ply wood and simple heeter cum blower in the cost of 5000 Rs. He runs it by solar power which is no use in rainy season.
He says growing caradamoum is profitable. But only threat is monkeys. Monkeys damage all berries. He did some arrengements for monkeys to prevent their entry. If we make arrangements to control monkeys, by putting nets etc it is possible to save the capsules.