|AGRICULTURE TRIBUNE||Monday, August 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India|
Fruiting forests need of Kandi area
Economic vitality of organic resource for farm output
Tree plantation with a difference
Fruiting forests need of Kandi area
The lands in the Kandi area of Punjab are undulating, criss-crossed with choes, sandy of poor fertility and the ground water is deep and scarce, hence growing of annual crops is not only uneconomic but eco-degrading also. A few decades earlier, this belt was famous for groves of seedling mango, jamun, amla, ber, galgal, lasora, harar, bahera, etc. The fruits available in plenty were eaten by rich as well as poor and the surplus was either sold in nearby markets or converted into many traditional, value-added, products like pickles, chutneys, ambpaper, ambchoor, dried amla, harar, bahera, etc. Whereas the grasses growing underneath the trees would protect soil from erosion and used for grazing as well as making ropes. Thus, a balanced agro-ecosystem was maintained.
In recent years, the resource rich new settlers and some locals, for immediate gain, have started the very expensive levelling of the fields, installing deep tubewells and growing either annual crops, raising large-scale plantation of eucalyptus, poplar or fruits like kinnow, litchi, etc. under clean cultivation. This onslaught of modern agriculture is harmful to the fragile eco-system of the region. During the rainy season, choes are flooded which wash away the fertile soil and replace it by sand. Even the downstream farms of local poors and panchayats are denuded and degraded. Benefits of levelling and bunding go waste.
So covering the entire Kandi tract for "fruiting forests" a term used for plantation of fruit-bearing trees which also provide timber, fuel and fodder for local people is the best choice keeping in view the fragile agro-climatic conditions. The various advantages accruing from this concept are as under:
Nutritional security: The socio-economic status of the Kandi people being low, their diet is nutritionally deficient, particularly in protein, minerals and vitamins. The fruiting forests will serve the twin objectives of improving economic and nutritional status of the people. The poorest of the poor will have access to quality food. The fruits of this region compare favourably and even surpass many better known fruits of India in nutritive and medicinal value.
Timber, fuel and fodder: The wood of mango is rough, grained and used mainly for medium quality furniture. The timber of jack fruit is valuable for making furniture as it is rarely attacked by white ant. Jamun timber is used in buildings and resists the action of water. Compared to shisham tree which supplies 25 quintals timber and 15 quintals firewood in 50 years, the trees of the same age of mango, jamun and ber produce 20, 30 and 5 quintals timber; 18, 15 and 20 quintals firewood in addition to 50, 35 and 30 quintals fruits, respectively. Leaves of many of these trees are used as fodder for cattle, camel, sheep and goats.
Employment generation: According to estimates of the National Horticulture Board, the average labour required for production of fruit plants is 860 mandays per hectare per annum, whereas that of cereal crops is 143 mandays. The local people will get employment in watch and ward, harvesting, collection and marketing of fruits. Even at half the mandays requirement an area of 50,000 hectares will create more than 10,000 additional jobs. The raw material from these fruit trees will be used in small and cottage scale industries providing employment to unskilled and semi-skilled persons. The commercial exploitation of these fruits can be done in the form of pickle, jam, jelly, preserve, juice and squash, besides preparing mango papar, mango powder, dried amla, destoned harar, bahera, etc. The shoots of phalsa and mulberry are utilised for making baskets which are used in transportation of fruits and vegetables. The bark of phalsa can be used for making ropes.
Industrial and medicinal products: The fruits of amla, bael, harar and jamun are in great demand for preparation of ayurvedic medicines and functional foods and also have tremendous industrial applications.
Source of germplasm: Fruit trees growing in the region are of seedling origin and exhibit a lot of variation. This in situ unique germplasm can be helpful for any breeding and root stock programme.
Care of wild animals/birds: The Kandi area has some important wild animals and birds which are not found in rest of the Punjab. These trees will provide food to this important fauna of Kandi.
The trees of lasora, galgal, mulberry and jamun can be used as shelter belt around orchards. The plants of karonda are thorny and form good hedges as well as wind breaker around nurseries. The plants of amla are quite ornamental because of its leaves and looks more attractive when laden with fruits. So, it can also be planted as avenue tree.
Although fruiting forests are a boon to this region, these also have their share of disadvantage. These trees act as host for harbouring many insect pest and diseases and periodic pest management measures may be required. To fructify the concept of fruiting forests, concerted efforts by the local population, development agencies and NGOs are required. Some of suggestion are:
Provision of superior quality planting material: seeds, seedlings, grafts, in situ budding and grafting services.
Live or barbed wire for protection from wild animals.
Financial assistance to small farmers to the extent of annual requirements of foodgrains, cloth and other essential commodities during the non-bearing phase of the orchard.
Promotion of drip irrigation only on undisturbed fields and chemical weed management.
Conducting frequent crash training courses to the participating farmers.
Assistance in establishing of value addition centers having facilities for packaging, cooling and primary processing like destoning, drying pulping, etc. through farmers associations, NGOs and state agencies.
Economic vitality of organic resource
The generation of organic resource from livestock, crop residues, human beings, composts and wastes of agriculture related activity in India has an approximate potential of supplying NPK nutrients in the range of 10.5 to 16.5 MT of which 3.9 to 5.7 MT can be made available for agricultural production. According to a recent estimate, only 25 per cent nutrient needs of the Indian agriculture can be met by utilising various organic resources, viz. farmyard manure (FYM 200 MT), crop residues (CRs 30 MT), rural and urban wastes (RUWs 10MT) and green manuring (GMs 25 million hectare). Further of the nutrient uptake by the cereal crops, nitrogen (25%), phosphorus (25%), potash (75%) and sulphur (50%) are retained in the crop residue making them valuable nutrient resource of which major portion is used as animal feed and ca 33% (of the 400 MT estimated) is available for direct use in agriculture. The major contribution of rural composts in the form of FYM is animal dung, which has a potential of about 7 MT NPK of which 50% manurial production is used for crop production.
The potential of rural and urban composts has been assessed to be 800 MT and 16 MT per year, respectively. If we utilise whole of our organic resource for nutrient requirements of agricultural production, it would be able to meet only 33% of the nutrient requirement for achieving the present level of food production. Moreover, appropriate and cost-effective management of urban organic solid waste has been considered a valuable agriculture resource. Most of the municipal solid wastes in densely populated cities and towns are a mix of household waste, street wastes, commercial and industrial wastes of heterogeneous composition containing organic and inorganic matter.
These waste materials offer a good possibility for recovery of energy and generation of employment for gainful utility through adoption of wisdom envisaged treatment and processing technologies. This is not important only from recovery of energy viewpoint for harnessing organic fraction from zero garbage but is also helpful in reducing environment pollution and health hazards as well as mitigating the land scarcity of dumping the wastes in land-fills or riverines, rivers, oceans and spreading at tourism places in an undesired manner. The problem is not specific at one country level but is of worldwide phenomenon. For instance in the USA solid inorganic wastes have been reported to accumulate to the extent of 800 MT on dry weight basis of which only 23% of municipal sewage sludge is applied to land. This use is expected to be increased as ocean dumping and landfill disposal of sludge decrease because of environment concerns. Composting organic waste prior to agricultural us reduces foul odour, decreases undesirable physical and chemical properties, increases nutrient availability and eliminates human pathogens.
The addition of organic matter in the form of FYM and different types of composts from agriculture and household wastes, and city wastes by considering zero garbage proposition, besides growing green manuring crops, does not help in maintaining soil fertility but also improves resource quality at large. Many soils are eroded and their nutrient status tends to be low due to continuous cultivation for centuries together. The soil organic matter and soil microflora/microfauna are inter-dependent in maintaining soil quality and in recycling of nutrients as well as degradation of wastes and toxic chemicals to nontoxic. Both natural and artificial decomposition of litter or wastes during composting process is critical for maintaining the function of natural and managed ecosystem or agro-ecosystem since it not only influences nutrient availability but is also closely linked to soil structure protection. The total mass of organic carbon stored in upper 30 cm soils in India is less. Indias share in overall soil organic carbon is only about 3%, although it covers 11.9% of the total geographical area of the world. In the event of more deforestation over periodic reforestation and low biomass production per unit area, consequences are expected devastating for sustainability of biological system. The availability of organic manure at present is about 2t/ha.
Besides above, organic amendments are recommended as biological means to reduce the incidence of several plant diseases and disorders. It is the cheapest, practical and effective method for management of soil-borne diseases and reducing the environmental pollution within its dimensions. The decomposition of the organic matter helps in the alternation of the physical, biochemical and biotic conditions of the soil. During the process various biochemicals are released which induce disease resistance and tolerance on root surface and in the tissue when absorbed as well as within the boundaries of rhizosphere and rhizoplane. It also helps in maintaining of pathogen suppressive soils which contain useful bacteria and actinomycetes, hence ultimately help in reducing and eliminating economic soil-borne pathogens or diseases incited by them. Moreover, a soil type can be rich in total content of micronutrients but poor in plant available amounts. Critical concentration of a nutrient is different for different crops and crop varieties, however, a knowledge of the relative tolerance of a particular crop or crop variety to a nutrient deficiency can be of particular use in reducing and eliminating disorders and soil-borne plant pathogens.
Tree plantation with a difference
IF we are to ever visualise a clean-n-green India and wish to reach out to each and every fellow countryman with the errand: "Save environment; save India", we shall never succeed in accomplishing the mission unless we seriously involve the youth in this herculeen task. Taking a cue from this innovative idea" the eastern chapter of the Bharat Vikas Parishad went the whole hog to prove the point, which turned out to be an experiment of a different kind.
The parishad organised its second annual tree plantation camp under vanamahotsava at Kendriya Vidyalaya, sector 31, recently, planting of 40 saplings of medicinal, ornamental, fruit, flower-bearing species of plants on the school premises. "It is not a mere ritual or a gameplan to gain media hype. We have launched this relentless drive with a mission well-defined and would move heaven and earth to achieve the envisaged goal to turn India greener and still more greener", informs Mr I.S. Bansal, president of the parishad.
Participating students were asked to patronise one sapling each to ensure regular monitoring of its growth and proper upkeep. A nameplate of the student-adopter would be put up along the sapling by the parishad in due course. He or she shall look after the adopted plant in the little leisure time that he or she could shell out before and after the school hours. The students-adopters were given a set of tips on the grooming and protection of plant. A team of the parishad office-bearers would monitor the growth of the saplings till it attains maturity by visiting the site every six months. The visiting team would identify the best-maintained saplings and honour the proud plant-adopter at a function to be held later.
The parishad conducted various competitions, including on-the-spot slogan coining, poster making and display-board competitions, with environment and ecology as the guiding themes. The top three among them were awarded the first and two runners-up prizes in each cetegory.
Farm operations for August
This month is very suitable for planting of evergreen fruit plants like citrus, mango, guava, litchi and loquat as weather is suitable for the establishment of growth of fruit plants.
The excess rainwater when stagnates for several days is harmful to the orchard trees. Adopt prompt measures to drain out the excess rainwater from the orchard. Prune the dried ends of the branches along with 5 to 8 cm of the live wood. Apply small dose of nitrogenous fertiliser to excess water-affected fruit trees.
The short statured leguminous intercrops like moong, mash, guara and beans may be put under vacant land in the young orchards.
The papaya plants should be manured @ 0.75 kg of fertiliser i.e. ammonium sulphate, superphosphate and potassium sulphate in the ratio of 2:4:1 during the month along with 10 kg of well-rotten farmyard manures.
Spray the affected citrus trees with 0.3 per cent zinc sulphate without addition of lime to late summer flush in this month to control zinc deficiency.
In citrus, spray 670 ml Rogor or 625 ml Nuvacron in 500 litres of water for the control of insect-pests. Spray mixture (2:2:250) or 50 per cent Copper Oxychloride (0.3 per cent) for the control of citrus diseases.
To check weeds in ber orchard, spray 1.2 litres gramoxone (paraquat) during the second fortnight of August when the weeds are growing actively as a directed spray. Dissolve the herbicide in 200 liters of water per acre.
In ber, spray the trees with Bordeaux mixture (2:2:250) or with 0.3 per cent Copper oxychloride 50 per cent.
To check mango shoot borer in young plants, spray Thiodan 700 ml in 500 litres of water per acre.
To control Anth-recnose and downy mildew diseases of grapes, spray the vines with Bordeaux mixture 2:2:250 in 400 litres of water.
Separate the pregnant animals from the rest of the herd 15 days before the expected date of calving. Keep a close watch at the time of calving and provide necessary help if needed.
It is calving season and observe the animal daily for normal calving in case animal do not calve but show the symptoms, get it examined from veterinary officers.
Take hygienic steps to check maggot wounds. Keep the surroundings clear and preferably apply fly repelling ointment on the wound i.e. Himax or Lorexane or Ectosep.
Disbud the calf within 7 to 10 days of birth with hot iron. Apply antiseptic cream to heal the wound and control ticks.
Due to heat, humidity and rain and lack of fodder, it is a stress period for the animals. Protect the animals from inclement weather and heat and provide alternate feed like concentrate mixed with wheat straw or silage.
If not vaccinated get your animals vaccinated against Haemorrhagic Sepucaemia (gal ghotu) immediately.
This month is hot and humid during which flies, lice and ticks are very common. These suck blood, cause skin irritation and spread diseases. To check these, spray 0.5 per cent carbaryl. Asuntol 0.05 per cent Butox 0.02 per cent and Taktic (12.5 per cent) 0.02 per cent on the animals as well as on the sheds and repeat the spray after 10 to 15 days. Do not spray animals below six months of age. Animals sheds especially corners, crevices etc. should also be sprayed.