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  • With good returns, cashew elbows tapioca out of Pachamalai 11/14/2022

    Nov 14th, 2022

    Cultivation of cashew, widely considered a cash crop, is slowly but steadily catching up among tribal farmers of Pachamalai in Tiruchi district. Tapioca has been a major crop on Pachamalai. The crop is cultivated on about 8,000 acres. It is cultivated predominantly in every hamlet of Thenpuranadu. Though the farmers are well-versed in the techniques of raising tapioca, a section of them has lost interest in cultivating the crop due to poor returns, syndicate among the buyers of tapioca in offering prices, and high cost of overheads. Their attention has turned towards raising cashew plantations, mainly after seeing the yield of cashew crops raised by a group of farmers under National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)-promoted Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) with the support of Hand-in-Hand, a non governmental organisation. According to farmers, unlike many other crops, cashew crop fetches attractive benefits to farmers for 15-20 years. It gives yield once a year from April to May. It starts giving yield from the second or third year after planting. In the beginning, the yield is about one kg per tree. It goes up to five to eight kg per tree depending on the growth and maintenance of the crop. The farmers, who observed the yield and returns of the tribes, who brought their lands under cashew cultivation about six years ago, have begun to switch to cashew crop. According to a rough estimate, about 1,300 acres have been brought under cashew cultivation. Besides the members of ITDP, other tribes have also switched to cashew cultivation. “We find cashew crop is far better than tapioca in terms of overall returns. I began to get yield from the second year after planting cashew on one acre of land. The crop hardly requires manpower to look after it,” says D. Manivannan of N. Puthur near Thenpuranadu. Another farmer said that unlike tapioca there was a steady demand for cashew in the market, thereby offering reasonably good prices. It was also among the reasons for the farmers to turn their attention towards raising cashew crop on Pachamalai.