Tamarind- A Potential Crop for Paschimanchal

Seeing even hearing the name everyone becomes crazy- it is none but mouth-watering tamarind. In Bengali it is called ‘tentul’, and in Andhra they call as immli. It is wildly as well as informally grown everywhere. Tamarind is an evergreen spice tree having enormous in-built capacity to withstand adversities. This plant is a neglected one and has been as an orphan crop in West Bengal. Its tremendous potentiality in rough terrain has not been explored.
During last month I had been travelling through some parts of Paschimanchal. I saw the drought, parched lands, withered paddy and paucity of water wherever I moved. I was passing through a tribal village. Suddenly , I was struck to see a group of tribal women under a tamarind tree with huge green leaves and tender fruits of tamarind. I came to them and asked” what will you do with these leaves?”
-“ we will feed our goats and sheep”-replied one of them. Another one said” we also make cuisines with green leaves and soft-fruits. These are fine dish to us.”
I asked” do you have special dish”?
-yea- fish curry with leaves or fruits is tasteful and our favourite dish. See this time we have no plenty of vegetables.. tamarind is our boon in off-season. We make Chatny, pickles with tamarind.”
-“ Is there utility of this tree”?
“ It is God gifted tree. We get fuels, timbers. Our Dhekhi is made of tamarind-wood. It is so hardy.”
“ Its seed are crushed and fed to animals. Sometimes we sell them.”
“ Do you sell tamarind-fruit. “?
“yea. Paikars come and we sell to them”?
-“ What price do you get?”
-“ Rs. 7-8 per kg.”
I was astounded. Recently I purchased tamarind-paste which is Rs.80.00/kg. in the market. I could remember a news about three years back when turmeric price rose in the market, it touched Rs.100 per kilo and the AP Government began to purchase and sell tamarind through c-operatives to rescue the consumers as well as farmers selling at low price. Market information gap prevents tamarind-growers or collectors from the real price paid by consumers. Tamarind has large demand in our country. It has also huge demand in abroad. During 2013-14 16,000 tonnes of tamarind were exported valuing more than 94 crores. Total export value of tamarind was as high as Rs.123 crores during 2011-12.
Tamarind is well suited in drought prone areas. It can be integrated with farm-forestry program. At present there are quick growing varieties such as PKM_1, GKKV,Tumkur which comes to fruit bearing stage within 6-7 years. Those varieties have high yield potential. From a single tree one can harvest 2.50 Qtls of raw tamarind. The tree will yield for many years. One can have 70 kg. fine-tamarind paste from each plant. Moreover, turmeric, ginger or other tuber crops could be taken during the gestation period.
The crop requires no irrigation and can withstand temperature upto 46 degree is ideally suitable for Paschimanchal. Plantation of this plant will mitigate drought to an extent if done systematically.

About mitraprof

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