In agriculture, personal experience and an inquisitive mind are two known ingredients for success.
“Often, we come across reports of some farmer developing a low cost invention which becomes popular. Mr. Alagarsamy in Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu has developed a high yielding moringa (drumstick) variety named PAVM which yields for nearly 8-9 months a year,” says Mr. P. Vivekanandan, Executive Director, Sustainable Agriculture andEnvironmentalVoluntaryAction (SEVA), Virattipathu, Madurai.
The variety has become such an instant hit with hundreds of farmers in Dindugal, Coimbatore and Erode areas that even scientists from the Horticultural College and Research Institute (under the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University), Periyakulam are all praise for Mr. Algarsamy’s path breaking finding.
“I am basically a post-graduate in arts and my 10 acres of land, unemployment and an inquisitive mind led me to develop the new variety,” says Mr. Alagarsamy.
Through a procedure called air layering, selected branches from the main tree are cut and soaked in Panchagavya solution and coir pith placed over them.
A polythene sheet is spread over them and secured with a thread. In about 3 weeks the grafts grow new roots after which they are separated from the main tree. The layers are then planted in polythene bags after removing the polythene sheet.
The polythene bags are placed in the nursery for about 20 days after which they can be planted in the main field.”
Less water requirement
Compared to other high yielding varieties, PAVM requires less water and starts yielding from the 5th or 6th month after planting. “About 150-200 kg of matured pods can be harvested from a single tree from the second year of planting,” says Mr. Alagarsamy.
If organic practices are followed, the fruits become fleshy and weigh about 200 gm each and stay fresh for nearly a week.
Mr. Rajendran, a farmer from Dindugal who has planted this variety says:
“I got an income of rupees one lakh from my one acre in a year as this variety yields substantially in my red soil, is resistant to diseases, and responds well to organic practices.”
Another farmer Mr. Kuppusamy from Erode district, Tamil Nadu says:
“Initially I planted about 200 grafts in my one acre and spent about Rs.50, 000 (for one year) for labour, weeding and manures. The trees came to harvest from the sixth month and the harvesting is done once a week. At present, I am harvesting about four bags a week (a bag weighs 500 kilos). The pods are sold at the rate of Rs.5 to Rs. 20 in the local market.”
“Annually about 20 tonnes of moringa pods can be harvested (at an average of 100 kilos per tree with 200 trees in an acre) from this variety,” says Mr. Alagarsamy.
In some fields the trees planted along the hedges recorded more yield than those planted inside the field. A farmer can easily get a gross income of Rs. 2 lakh a year and after deducting Rs.75,000 as expenses, a net profit of Rs.1.25 lakhs can be obtained.
Mr. Alagarsamy so far sold more than 10 lakh grafted seedlings to nearly 3,000 farmers in Dindigul, Madurai and Coimbatore districts. Nearly 6,000 acres in these three districts come under this variety.
In a year about 2.5 lakh seedlings are produced from his nursery which fetches him a profit of Rs. 6 lakh a year. Mr. Alagarsamy has been conferred a host of awards from several organisations for his effort.
Readers can contact Mr. P. Alagarsamy at No:6/39, south street, Pallapatti, Nilakottai Taluk, Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, mobile: 98653 45911 / 97917 74887 and Mr. P. Vivekanandan, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone:0452-2380082 and 2380943.