Project Coordinator Message
Plantation crops like coconut, arecanut, oil palm and palmyrah have a key role in the socio-economic development and transition from a subsistence agrarian economy to market oriented commercial cultivation due to their trade significance. Cultivation of palms in India also has a rich diversity and varied history with each crop having its own distinct historical and economic context of development. Plantation crops sector is now confronted with a number of challenges which necessitate paradigm shift in approach with innovative ideas and cutting edge technologies to make the sector competitive and sustainable in the rapidly changing world scenario. The paramount importance to have short term and long term vision lies in this context. The long term research perspective effectively enables the stakeholders in these crops to adapt to changes within a complex and dynamic innovation system framework, where there are greater numbers of participants and linkages to consider. Robust solutions to many of the problems faced by these crops to be addressed in the context of climatic, social, ecological and other factors that change on longer time scale.
Status of Mandate crops
India is one of the major producers of Coconut in the word with a share of 16.4 per cent in 2012-13. Along with Indonesia and Philippines, it constitutes more than 75 per cent of the global coconut production. India has the highest productivity in coconut with a productivity level of 10,600 nuts /ha whereas the average global productivity stands at 5833 nuts/ha. Though India is a major producer of coconut, the entire production is consumed in the domestic markets. Even though Kerala has the maximum area under the crop, Tamil Nadu is the major producer due to the high level of productivity in the state. The economic returns from coconut plantations need to be augmented through coconut based mixed cropping and judicious practice of intercropping in view of higher magnitude of price fluctuation of the commodity in the international market.
Oil Palm cultivation has assumed added significance in the recent past due to its potential for augmenting the indigenous availability of edible oil. The potential area that can be brought under the crop is estimated to be 1 million hectares to produce about 4 million tonnes of palm oil. Presently an area of 0.23 million hectares of land has been brought under oil palm cultivation, largely due to the efforts undertaken through the Oil Palm Development Programme (OPDP). Andhra Pradesh accounts for about 60 per cent of the area under oil palm in India. Oil palm with its high yield of oil / ha has great potential in meeting the growing demand for edible oil.
India is the world’s leading producer of arecanut with a share of nearly 50 per cent of the total production; but the productivity is well below that of China (2745 kg/ha). The arecanut economy is driven by strong domestic demand which is estimated to be more than 0.33 million tonnes per year. Stagnating market prices and increasing cost of production, especially the skilled labour charges in the recent times have generated livelihood concerns of arecanut farmers in India. A check in additional area expansion and encouraging the farmer to adopt arecanut based cropping systems by strengthening the transfer of technology activities would certainly benefit the arecanut farmers’ in long run.
Palmyrah palm, adorns the dry landscape of the semi arid regions of Tamil Nadu, AndhraPradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Karnataka and Maharashtra. India has nearly 102 millionpalms and half of them are in Tamil Nadu. Out of 51.9 million palms in Tamil Nadu, morethan 50% of palms are concentrated in the southern district of Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli,Virudhunagar and Ramnad districts, while Thoothukudi district alone has a major share of 10 million palms. The palms offer opportunity for increasing the employment potential and provide a source of income to the poor in the rural areas.
Targeted activities of cooperating centres:
Each centre is working on different aspects and in different model as per requirement of a particular location. Broadly, it can be categorized as below:
- Undertake experimental research on research farm of the centre to work out solutions of specific problem.
- Undertake field evaluation of proven technologies/ technology in pipeline, in participatory model in the farmer’s field conditions, may be with input sharing with the farmers.
- Exposure, training and on spot consultation with framers, state official and other stake holder to disseminate the know how generated in the project, to get feedback, and information about gaps and needs.
- Establishment linkages with various governmental and non governmental agencies for collaborative activities fore further improvement in quality of research output, its dissemination among the stakeholders.