A farmer from Kannur district in Kerala has developed an innovative practice to develop supportive roots in cashew trees to protect her senile cashew garden from devastating attacks by borers and frequent cyclonic storms.
The area cultivated with cashew nuts in India is around 10.11 lakh ha, the highest of all cashew producing countries, and the total annual production is around 7.53 lakh tonnes, several farmers in depend for their livelihood. The coastal state of Kerala offers one of the best sites for cashew plantations in the country.
However, its production is hampered by several biotic and abiotic factors. The stem and root borer is one of the most debilitating pests because it is able to kill even mature trees in a short period of time. Besides pest infestations, cashew plantations on the Indian coast are affected by frequent intense cyclones, and each of these devastations takes more than 10 years to restore.
Aniyamma Baby from Kerala has developed an innovative “cashew multiple rooting propagation method”, which generates multiple roots in an adult cashew tree, thus improving production per unit area. It also helps in the environmentally friendly management of stem and root borers, restores productivity, provides a strong anchor against damage from wind / cyclonic storms and extends the life of the plantation without the need for replant.
In 2004, when harvesting cashews, Aniyamma observed that a branch of cashew, which was in constant contact with the soil, generated adventitious roots (no taproot). She noticed that the new plant emerging from this root grew faster compared to a normal cashew plant.
The following year, a heavy infestation of stem borers (insect larvae or arthropods that bore through the stems of plants) destroyed the mother plant, but the newly developed plant was healthy and was not affected by the ‘infestation.
“By observing the rooting and development of new plants from the mother plant, she thought she would develop new plants by wrapping a bag filled with potting soil over the nodes of the lower parallel branches. She guided the new root to the ground. using a hollow areca nut stem, as well as adding weight to branches close to the ground and covering them with soil for rooting, ”a statement from the Department of Science and Technology said on Monday. technology.
Both of her experiences were successful and she has been using both methods in her former senile cashew plantations for the past seven years to support her family with a continuous supply of high-cashew products.
The National Innovation Foundation, an autonomous organization of the Department of Science and Technology, adopted innovative technology for the necessary support and incubation activities.
“Multiple rooting of cashew nuts for senile planting” was verified by ICAR-Cashew Research Directorate, Puttur (Karnataka) and Agricultural University of Kerala in Thrissur, State of 2020 .
“It has proven to be a unique method and provides an anchor against damage from wind / cyclonic storms, and restores cashew trees from severe stem and cashew root borer attack in a very environmentally friendly way. The technology offers new hope that cashew growers with senile cashew gardens will achieve additional yield, ”the statement said.
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