How Kerala farmer innovated to save her senile cashew gardens from pests & cyclones

 How Kerala farmer innovated to save her senile cashew gardens from pests & cyclones

Cashew plantation

Team L&M

Aniyamma Baby, a woman farmer from Kannur, Kerala has come up with an innovative practice to develop support roots in cashew trees to protect her senile cashew garden from devastating borer attacks and frequent cyclonic storms. Stem and root borer is one of the most debilitating pests as it can quickly kill even the grown-up trees.

Cashew plantation destroyed by cyclone (left) stem and root borer pest (right)

Baby has developed an innovative Cashew Multiple Rooting Propagation Method, which generates multiple roots in a grownup cashew tree, improving production per unit area. It also helps eco-friendly management of stem and root borers, restores productivity, provides strong anchorage against wind damage/cyclonic storms, and extension of the plantation life without the necessity of replanting.

It all started back in 2004, when while harvesting cashew, Baby observed one cashew branch, which was in constant contact with the soil, was generating adventitious roots. She noticed that the new plant emerging from this root had fast growth as compared to others.

Next year, while the mother plant got destroyed by a heavy infestation of stem borer, the newly developed plant was healthy and remained unaffected by it. This gave Baby an idea of developing new plants by wrapping sac filled with potting mixture on the nodes of lower parallel branches (called the Cylindrical Shape Method). She guided the new root to the ground with the help of hollow areca nut stem, as well as adding weight to the branches close to the ground and covering them with soil for rooting (called the Low Lying Parallel Branch Method). Both of these experiments were successful. Baby has since been using these two methods in her old senile cashew plantations.

Cylindrical Shape Method of growing cashews

The Low Lying Parallel Branch method of growing cashews

The National Innovation Foundation, an autonomous organisation of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, has taken up the innovative technology for the necessary support and incubation activities. The technology (Cashew Multiple Rooting for Senile plantation) was verified by ICAR- Directorate of Cashew Research, Puttur (Mottethadka, Darbe Dist. – Puttur, Karnataka) & Kerala Agriculture University (Vellanikkara, Dist. – Thrissur, Kerala) in 2020.

Image source: ICAR – Puttur
Content source: PIB


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