Daijiworld Media Network - Puttur (SP)
Puttur, Feb 21: The dwarf variety of areca nut has gained popularity. In coconut too, dwarf variety has been introduced. We already have dwarf mango varieties. People seem to get attracted towards dwarf varieties of trees which normally grow tall. Now, a team of the Directorate of Cashew Research, Puttur, led by Dr M G Nayak has developed a dwarf variant of cashew named 'Netra Vaman'.
Cashew trees grow to a height of 30 to 40 feet if left untouched. Most of the species currently in use are tall. Those who systematically grow cashew maintain cashew trees at a height of 15 feet by pruning them down every year. In Karnataka, many areas prefer the high intensity system of cultivation. VRI-3, RCC selection-2 and H-130 species are normally used. In this system, about 40 cashew plants are planted per acre of land. All the plants are cut at a height of five to six feet every year. However maintenance in this way becomes a little difficult. Therefore, it is convenient if there are species which can be cultivated in a high intensity method with less pruning process.
The newly invented 'Netra Vaman' species comes in handy in such cases. This plant gives out fruit even when there is less sunshine. Therefore, they can be grown in areas with 60 percent sunshine like in coconut gardens where trees are away from each other. They can also be grown in big pots on the terrace. Even when there is space constraint like in the backyard, a few plants can be grown for getting a sense of satisfaction. Interested people can also do bonsai in this species, says M G Nayak, a member of the team which invented this species.
He explained that when there is no intervention, in the tenth year, this plant can grow to a height of eight feet while the breadth can go up to 18 feet. Even after ten years, it retains the dwarfness. Its maintenance is easy as it needs less pruning. Within a year of planting, it flowers. Its yield is 1.5 to 2 kg. The seed weighs 5.5 to 6 grams while the fruits weigh about 50 grams. It has bright red fruit with less fibre. Its stem has many nodules, which is the reason for its dwarfness, he said.
Nayak said that so far, this species has not been seen suffering from major attack by insects or diseases. Even if it suffers from them, because of less height, it can be easily managed, the researchers believe. In the recent past, there is high demand for cashew and the newly invented species is expected to give good yield.