Kodukkapuli (Manila Tamrind- Botanical term is Pithecellobium dulce ) is fast becoming a rarity. About a half a century ago, this tree was a ubiquitous one in school grounds including at the backyards of several houses in both urban and rural areas. The fruit would be in curls in both green and red color. The taste would be little unique consisting of both sweetness and sourness. In those days, it was a common fruit next only to mango which the school going children would vie with each other to pluck from the trees and eat them. In villages the only competition was from parrots and squirrels which used to bite and taste this fruit quite often. Many people would be able to recollect how they used to cull out these fruits with the help of thoratti on their holidays. It was a cherished past time too in the past. However, this fruit now easily costs Rs.400/- to Rs.500/- per kilo. As there is a good demand, many agriculturists prefer to cultivate this since recent times.
When it comes to rearing and harvesting this particular tree, it is found to be by far very simple in terms of the requisite inputs including water, manpower, manure, maintenance, insecticides etc. It does not require any elaborate process from cultivation to harvesting. This cultivation is specially meant for those who have less money, water, willingness or time to spare. Approximately, an acre of this tree would surely assure a return of around Rs.1.5 Lac per year.
In this context, Krishnaswamy is the right person who started his agricultural activities from scratch and achieved reaping maximum out of kodukkapuli and naval trees (black plum or java plum fruits). It is really worth knowing the modus operandi of Krishnaswamy. He belongs to Poosarinayakkanpatti village which is in Virudhunagar district near Sivakasi. He had a barren land and kept it as barren even after buying the same even though he was very much interested to be engaged in agriculture.
Krishnaswamy chanced to contact a farmer by name Pandian in the village Thadhampatti near Virudhunagar. Pandian had been cultivating Kodukkapuli exclusively in his land and getting a good deal of revenue out of it. Krishnaswamy was not impressed in the beginning and hence he wanted to check out the reality by visiting his land as often as possible for a period of nearly two years. Subsequently, based on Pandian’s suggestion only, Krishnaswamy started trying Kodukkapuli in his land of 5 acres. It required comparatively less water and less strain to maintain. At the same time, Krishnaswamy had an opportunity to visit another farmer in a place near Vandiyur who was cultivating naval (black plum, botanical name-Syzygium cumini ) trees in his land. Ultimately, Krishnaswamy started trying both kodukkapuli and naval trees in five acres each of his 10 acre land. Now it is all two years old.
50 Saplings per acre with 30 ft. distance in between:
Krishnaswamy confirms having installed a bore well for irrigation. Moreover the soil in his land is red and gravel soil which will suck water immediately. Hence he has arranged for drip irrigation system. The kodukkapuli tree will not grow very tall and is free from insecticides. However, he pours ½ litre humic acid per acre and mixes the same with drip irrigation channel which takes care of the kodukkapuli trees from any infection and danger.
- Krishnaswamy briefs the methodology as below:-
- This will grow in any soil, particularly, red gravel soil
- For both kodukkapuli and black plum, the planting method is the same
- We must dig pits with 3 ft.length, breadth and depth.
- Up to 2 ft.height, natural manure like karambai and garbage should be filled and allowed it to settle down for a month
- Afterwards, the kodukkapuli sapling can be planted and irrigated.
- Ideal time of planting is September and October so that the following monsoon rain will help the plants to grow steadily
- In between two pits there must be a gap of around 30 ft.
- Approximately, 50 saplings can be planted in an acre of land
From the sixth month onwards flowers will bloom which we should shake and disburse so that the tree will grow fat and strong. Normal harvest period is from the last week of January to end of April. Manuring at root level needs to be done twice a year; otherwise, no elaborate support is needed for kodukkapuli. From the fourth year onwards we can get 100 to 150 kgs.of fruits from each tree
Yield – Rs.9 L per year from 5 acres:-
In his own words, the following are the details of current and future yields:-
“It has been now 2 years since I planted the kodukkapuli trees and this year the yield has been fairly substantial
I have got 550 kg. yield from 5 acres of cultivation
While the selling price at the market is Rs.300/- per kilo, I have been able to sell it @ Rs.150/- per kilo to the wholesalers
I have received Rs.82,500/- against 550 kgs.of output and sale
I have planted a total number of 250 trees in 5 acres
In the third year, one tree is capable of producing 50 kgs
Even if it is 25 kgs.from one tree, I will get a return of 6,250 kgs.
On an average, if we treat it as 6,000 kgs.the yield in monetary terms would be Rs.9,00,000/- (Rupees Nine lakh only)
It is very likely that in the subsequent years, the yield would be more
Against the total yield of Rs.9L, if I deduct Rs.2 L towards all kinds of expenses including maintenance, the net profit stands at Rs.7 L”.
If one has land with some water availability for irrigation, he will be able to thrive with kodukkapuli very comfortably with minimum resources and strain.
Undoubtedly, Kodukkapuli will make even the barren land into a treasure land.. For more details Krishnaswamy can be contacted at 9489250517
(This article written in Tamil by R Kumaresan has been reproduced in English by PS Ramamurthy)