Friday, 23 March 2012

Cardamom plant: The Eco-Friendly Plantation Crop in Forest Pre-dominant Tripura

      It has repeatedly been mentioned that Tripura is forest pre-dominant state. Forest plays an important role in socio-economic development of the people and improving the climatic conditions of the state.
      Importance of forest coverage in the economic prosperity of the people, maintaining natural equilibrium and climate leaves little explanation.
      Now, the point is; are there any other aspects that can directly get benefited economically from the valuable forest land and resource?
       More so when forest ecology is least disturbed and valuable forest species are taken care off in the process of economic prosperity of the people of forest pro-dominant state Tripura.
     What about cardamom plant (Elettaria cardamomum M)? Can cardamom plant help the people of the state in the economic prosperity without or least disturbance of the forest covers? Is it compatible with the state’s climatic condition and existing forest resources?
    Well, this queen of spices, the cardamom plant suits best in tropical rain forest with elevation ranging from 600 meters to 1200 meters above mean sea level. It has been playing important economic roles in elsewhere where such suitable condition prevails.
     Cardamom plant grows well in the region of high rainfall ranging from 1500 mm to 4000 mm annually and suitably accompanied by temperature ranges from 100C to 350C.
     The climatic condition of Tripura is humid sub-tropical within the temperature and annual rainfall ranges that fulfills the required suitability purview of cardamom plant to grow successfully in the state.
     That is to say that forest pre-dominant Tripura is suitable for cardamom plantation but not tried to the expected level in the harmonious forest ecosystem of Tripura.
     In India, southern states are prominent in cardamom plantation and production. The states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are the major players of dry cardamom fruit production from this perennial herbaceous plant.
     Here the point is; climatic condition in the coastal Kerala and western ghat hill ranges of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are quite similar to the Tripura in several counts like average annual rainfall, temperature and soil condition with soil pH and fertility level.
      Now, there is certain restriction in usage of forest land and its resource utilization due to strict regulation by the concerned department. More so is with land owned by the public, there is also restriction in extraction of forest product either timber or minor forest produces.
      But, with the adoption / selection of eco-friendly crop, the cardamom plant, the possessor or owners of the land with sufficient forest coverage will have more movement advantages in securing the economic improvement through ecologically harmonious cardamom plant in the humid sub-tropical forest of Tripura.
     In Tripura there are places suitable in terms of elevation and forest coverage where this shade loving plant, cardamom could be tried for the greater economic benefit of the people and effective forest resource utilization.
      In India, cardamom plant is pre-dominantly grown as rain fed crop in the anticipation of monsoon rain fall.
     Transplanting cardamom plant or clone is carried out in the evergreen forest where top forest soil with rich organic matter content helps in successful growth of the cardamom plant. Usually, loamy soils with acidic pH range are considered suitable for the cardamom plant to come up successfully.
      In the forest species covered land either moderately sloppy hills or steep sloppy hills, field preparation for plantation of cardamom plant could be taken up without affecting the large standing trees.
    In the given land where there is more numbers of large trees, spacing of cardamom plant can be arranged based on the condition of land and existing tree populations.
     Trees with higher or excessive branches are trimmed for controlled shading or evenly distributed shading in the cardamom plantation.
   Through ensuring evenly shading, penetration of scorching sun is managed and soil moisture is restored and conserved too. Nevertheless, cardamom plant is sensitive to the drought during the dry spell which usually (in case of Tripura) starts from the month of January to April. Managing this prolong dry spell is critical in successful cardamom plantation to come up.
    In Tripura, hill ranges of Baramura, Deotamura, Atharamura, Longthorai, Sakhanthang and Jampui are few places where cardamom plantation can play an important role which is yet to be tapped in the state.
    The state government in agriculture and Horticulture departments are pursuing to improve the agriculture sector through mass popularization of different crops including plantation crops like Areca nut, Coconut and many other perennial fruit crops.
    The good part is; Cardamom plant also suits well in the Areca nut and Coconut plantation as an inter crop which proposes good income source through crop diversification.
However, the time now is for exploring this possibilities in forest predominant Tripura.
    Let cardamom plant find a good foot print in the state in the greater economic interest without disturbing fragile forest ecology of the state.
                                         Agritangkol Dated: 12-03-2012

1 comment:

  1. If tripura's climatic condition is favourable fr grwin cardamom dn it should b initiated vry soon.is there any project strted on cardamom in tripura recently??

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