Saturday 21 July 2012

Papaya; popular fruit and vegetable crop in Tripura

       Papaya, the locally known Kokiya, Kuwaifal, Pappa/Pepe is most predominant fruit as well as vegetable crop in every household of Tripura.
    Everybody, young or old either knows about papaya and its healthy properties useful for stomach ailment and, for vitamins supplement.
   In the market, you would get to see more number of green papayas than that of ripened papaya. Green papaya is prominently meant for vegetable purpose and papaya’s use is most prominent for vegetable purpose than that of fruit purpose.
  This is specifically true at the present condition in Tripura.
   Ripened papaya are sold in fruit shop that too in few number that is to say that number is astonishingly low compare to other popular fruits like Apple, Mango and other seasonal fruits.
   This may be due to the taste and preference by the consumer and people at large. But, there is strange thing that is observed in the rural area of the state. The point is where do all these papaya fruits comes from? Is it from solo papaya orchard or from homestead land?
  It is strangely seen that almost all papayas are produced from homestead orchard. There’s hardly any noticeable mono or solo papaya plantation in the state. This is really a strange as per as farmers as well as state’s perspective is concerned.
  The rate of papaya per kilogram is really competitive and profitable too. In the prevailing market demands as well as rate of papaya, it should have attracted farmers to take up papaya cultivation in their farm land but alas! It is not the case in the state. Nobody is taking up papaya at large scale.
  Papaya being vegetable as well as fruit crop has very right position in the heart of the people but what it lacks are mass popularization for large scale plantation. This may be achieved through awareness and good extension mechanism
   If ever taken up in the plain land (high) it would have definitely fetched good market demands as well as market price. In the time, where farmers are struggling for profit, this papaya would definitely come to their rescue in terms of farm profit and farmers would have greatly benefited.
   One of the important thing to note here is; papaya will not require anything exorbitantly in terms of input requirement, what it requires are the same thing like other crops that farmers are usually taking or using in their field for growing crops.
  There are many local as well as improved varieties of papaya available in the state; some of the improved varieties like Coorg honey Dew and California Wonder which are doing very well as far as production in the unit area is concerned could nicely fit the present need of the farmers.
   Moreover, planting of papaya seedling is also quite easy and their survival rate while transplanting in the main field is also quite satisfactory.
   Finally; what we need at this hour is; move on and move forward with the papaya. You have land, market and, what further requires is little extra risk to start with crop papaya.
         Agritangkol dated 10.07.2012

Thursday 19 July 2012

Agriculture has Evolved but Marketing Trick is Not!

   Agriculture as a major subject of importance has evolved a lot over the years with opening up of different avenues with the advancement of science and technology. Now agriculture is a vast subject covering different discipline that is taught in various agricultural Universities in the country.
    However, agricultural development has been concentrated to the activity that are more suitably associated with increasing yield, pest & disease resistance, nutritive improvement, evading stress period etc to name a few.
   But, what it did not impact to the farming community is; tricks to compete with the fellow farmers through such farming endeavor that is more competitive and relevant in the present condition at least as per present market condition is concerned. That is to say that marketing aspect is little lacking compare to other discipline.
  In marketing, the marketing executive employs different techniques or trick to sell his / her brand of product and in the process, even tries to out perform some parallel product which has been dominating in the market. Of course, same also applies at market level as far as agricultural produce is concerned.
  In case of agriculture sector, farmers employing any tricks to remain competitive and stay relevant in the present condition is least observed. In agriculture sector, most prominent / predominant activities are simply following the fellow farmers and when such blanket following happens then you expect very little innovativeness in terms of new idea to excel in the prevailing market condition.
  Take the case of Rubber, in present condition, rubber is most preferred plantation crop in Tripura therefore, people are eying and pursuing for rubber plantation. Do they (other farmers) ever look for other alternative?
  Similarly, cereal crop Rice, it is such that everybody cultivates rice in their land. Of course, here one point that act or binds the people is due to their food habit.  That is; being rice consumer therefore, rice has become ultimate choice for the farmers too.
  But, these gives little edge in terms of competitiveness in the market that is in terms of profitability depending on market demands. What farmers are doing is stereotypical having no innovativeness?
   In case of blanket following, you fall when they fall. And you also fall, if you have less capitalization even if you are in the side of might. That means by blindly following the mighty will not work as far economic profitability is concerned.
 It is not that innovativeness does not happen in agriculture sector but scale or number at which it is being happening is not up to the mark looking to the present market condition.
   Take a small example of one farmers who remained competitive and stayed relevant even though he had not followed the general mass who relied on the tried and tested concept; instead he pursued different things with tested concept; in stead he pursued different things with anticipation that produce fetches good market demand and price too.
  For this to happen farmers should look around of surroundings and, based on the trends he should take decision what should be taken up for realizing the farm profit in the less profitable market of Agriculture produce.
Agritangkol dated 10.07.2012

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Palmyrah Palm, a local Taal; Useful palm but least bothered.

           How many of you know Palmyra palm the locally known Taal? Of course, all have seen and have real experience on Palmyra palm in Tripura. This is quite common in rural Tripura.
     Again, how many of you know the usages or utility of Palmyra palm? Many would come forward and answer that they know the use of Palmyra palm.
    But the answer will be the “Taaler Payesh” prepared by using mesocarp of ripened fruit of Palmyra palm.
   In fact this is the common dessert prepared using ripened Palmyra fruit. Another is Taaler bora prepared using the same material but the making is different and they are quite popular too specially during the month of August & September.
   Now, if you ask anything additional, no fruitful answer would be heard as saying.
    That’s all we know, this is our knowledge level about Palmyra palm. This useful and gigantic palm stands upright in the rural Tripura but hardly any one remember until the fruit ripening season during the month of August and September when you get ripened fruit of Palmyra palm.
  Their utility is strictly limited with these few items as mentioned above. And. Of course, Taaler Mishri a popular sugar candy prepared out of the juice extracted from the Palmyrah palm which is available in the market. This is our bad luck that we did not realize the vastly useful palm.
    In India, it is in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, the maximum Palmyra palms are available and it is in those states that Palmyra palm are used most effectively and efficiently  by the local people.
  Palmyra palm has the utility in multi various purpose starting from:
  1. Sweet Toddy
  2. Palmyra arrack
  3. Sweet candy
  4. Palmyra coir
  5. Palmyra tender fruit
  6. Palmyra fruit
  7. Palmyra craft item etc.
  8. Palmyra pole for construction work
      But, this Palmyra palm in Tripura is really in pathetic condition and nobody bothers Palmyra. In Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh, you would find nicely cleaned Palmyra palm.
       But, in Tripura no one knows, they may even get surprised when they come to know about tapping of Palmyra like Date palm.
            Know your Palmyrah and utilize how it fits best.
        Agritangkol dated 10.07.2012

Sunday 15 July 2012

Farm Diversification Goes with Size of Land Holding!

      In the situation like Tripura, there are two main types of farming as far as geographical condition is concerned, one, plain and second, hilly or more traditional type of farming.
    Of course, within these two divisions, there are many similarities and little dissimilarity as far as farming practices is concerned. Tripura is pre-dominant for rice cultivation as far as cereal farming is concerned.
    However, there are certain other crops and animal husbandry activities that are also practiced by the people of the state from time to time.

Farm Diversification in Plain Area:-

     Generally, a prominent farmer in the plain area would to maintain in addition to cropping like livestock for bullock and milch cow for animal power and meeting milk need of the family members.
     It is also observed that farmers of plain area also used to keep local fowl and duck in the farm pond but again purpose of that diversification are for meeting occasional needs and egg requirement in the family.
    Now, if all these activities are viewed in farm diversification perspective with economic sense then, it could hardly be considered as diversification activities.
  This is due to the fact that secondary activities maintained by the farm household are less than the optimum therefore; they do not give scaleable income.
   One peculiarity that could be observed in the farming sector is more often than not, big farmers do not much diversify their farm in terms of growing different kinds of crops and also maintaining livestock etc which actually diminishes the total income potentiality of a well diversified farm.
    Big farmers with significant land holding size used to stick with mono cropping with least amount of diversification or no exceptional farm diversification activities.
   The big or moderately big farmers if venture into the effective farm diversification then it could really change the total farming landscape of the state which would have benefited both big and small farmers in general.

Farm Diversification by Small, Marginalized and Landless:-

    Farm diversification seems to be prominent with small farmers as it is prominently seen with the marginalized and lands less family who utilize their piece of land or no land possibly to create a flow of continuous income.
  These small farmers, they take up many activities along with growing of crops like animal husbandry viz; cattle farming, goat rearing and local fowl rearing although they possess little or no land but still they maintain through open/restricted grazing etc.
  All these create a permanent or continuous source of income for family to survive in the time of economic hardship.

Farm diversification in Hilly Area:-

 In hilly area, where comparatively traditional type of farming is practiced like growing of rain fed paddy, jhum/shifthing cultivation is also more or less same as far as diversification of farm is concerned.
  In the hilly area, activity like goat farming, pig rearing, local fowl rearing and shifting cultivation are the few diversification activities that people follow & practices.
    Therefore, here also, the same tendency of diversification in economic term is reflected that is decreased diversification with increased holding or with improved economic status and increased holding means mono cropping incase of cultivation activities and solo activities incase of other form of farming.
 However, diversification would vary in accordance with local taste and preference but within that preference too there exist huge gap between desired activity and actual field activity.
    In the time of dwindling farm income, it is therefore, imperative that farm diversification is given importance irrespective of holding size and shape.
  The point is; once you diversify, you actually delegate responsibilities in the whole instead of expecting to collapse with single activity oriented approach.
Agritangkol dated 09.07.2012