This Directorate initiated the programme of laying out Demonstration plots on improved Cashew Production Technology in farmers fields as part of the Institute Extension Programme since 1987. Demonstrations on recent cashew varieties, improved package of practices, high density orcharding and intercropping with other crops were taken up in such plots to demonstrate the technologies in farmers fields and to get proper feed back on the technologies which were given to farmers. So far more than 150 such demonstration plots were established in different parts of Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka state.
An area ranging from 1 acre to 2.5 Acres was covered under different technologies in various plots. The financial assistance for the initial establishment of orchards and maintenance of orchard for subsequent 2 years was provided to the farmers by the Directorate of Cashewnut and Cocoa Development (DCCD), Government of India, Cochin under area expansion programme or National Horticulture Mission. The Demonstration plots established under high density planting system (with spacing of 6m x 4m) with varieties such as Ullal-3, Bhaskara and Vengurla-4 have shown superior performance in terms of nut yield. The plots with 416 plants have yielded more than 2200 kg of raw nuts per Acre during 2010 (7th year of orchard life) during the year of very low yield in general.
Field days organized in such demonstration plots evoked very good response from cashew farmers of the region. Several farmers have come forward to take up such plots on seeing the results. Thus it was found that demonstration plots on improved cashew technologies are the most effective means of convincing about the new cashew technologies / varieties to the cashew farmers.
Cashew is generally a spreading type of tree crop and requires lot of space for its canopy spread. When the planting is recommended at a spacing of 8m x 8m, the plants take minimum of 6-7 years to cover the entire allotted space. In the initial years such space can be made use of for planting suitable intercrops which would help in generation of additional income, conservation of soil and moisture and utilization of space and other natural resources more effectively in the initial stage of orchard life.
Selection of a suitable crop for mixed cropping or intercropping is very important since intercrop should not compete with the main crop for any of the natural resources. Cashew is a sun loving crop plant and requires maximum solar energy far better nut yield. Therefore the crops which grow to the height of cashew canopy or more will not be suitable intercrops. As the main crop cashew is a deep rooted crop it is always advisable to select the annual crops or crops with shallow root system as intercrops to avoid root competition with main crop. Several crops have been tried as intercrops in cashew under varied climate conditions.
The west coast region of Karnataka and northern part of Kerala is a high rainfall zone and rain continues for about 5 months from June-November every year. The sufficient soil moisture available can be made use of by growing long duration annual crops without spending much on irrigation. In this region following 2 crops were found to be successful intercrops in cashew.
As an intercrop in cashew orchards it has given very encouraging results. In the beginning the trenches are opened across the slope and pineapple suckers are planted. The Pineapple crop can be taken up upto 6-7 years of orchard life of cashew. The fruit yield is ready for harvest after 1½ year onwards depending on type of planting material and growth regulator used. A net income of more than 1.00 lakh can be realized per 1 ha area.
Elephant foot yam (Amarphophalus)
It is another important crop which can be successfully grown in cashew orchard in the initial years.
The planting of the crop can be taken up once the pre-monsoon showers are received during summer months (April). The crop comes to harvest by end of rainy season (Nov-Dec.). Under well managed condition very good crop can be harvested and a good profit made from the crop.
Several other annual crops also can successfully be grown as intercrops in initial stages of cashew orchard.Â They are annual kharif vegetables such as Bhendi, Brinjal, cowpea and cucumbers, ginger, turmeric etc. which can be successfully grown and profit be realised. In the existing cashew orchard, Black Pepper can be grown as intercrop by trailing the Black Pepper vines on cashew trees.
Like any other fruit powder reconstitution, CAP (50 g) was mixed with 300 ml of water and agitated thoroughly. After 4 h, it was filtered using what man filter paper and using refractometer brix vale was measured. As the filtrate had 9.5ᵒB , sugar was added little by little till it reached 10.5ᵒB which is commercially acceptable for Ready-To-Serve (RTS) beverage. The quantity of sugar added to reach the desired brix value was around 35 g. Reconstituted juice prepared with CAP obtained by PHSTD and CD are depicted in Fig 5. It was found that ‘body’ of RTS prepared from PHSTD is slightly higher than CAP obtained by CD. Sensory evaluation was conducted and found to be comparable with RTS prepared with fresh cashew apple juice.
In order to prepare jam using CAP, it was added to water in the ratio of 50g : 80 ml and mixed thoroughly so as to bring brix value to 10ᵒB. Adding 130 g of sugar to the admixture, it contents were heated normal flame. End point in preparing jam using CAP is to attain consistency with brix value of 65ᵒB (Fig 6). Later it was cooled and transferred to sterilized bottles leaving head space and closed air tight. Jam thus, stored could be stored under refrigerated condition for 180 days.
Products like burfi / cake and laddu (South Indian snack foods) can be prepared using CAP. In order to get better consistency and uniform texture of the end product, CAP obtained either by PHSTD or CD need to be sieved for uniform particle size. CAP and basin powder in the ratio of 1:1 should be mixed and roasted at low flame to have control on scorching of materials. Once it reaches, light brown colour, roasting can be stopped and spread on clean plate for cooling. After cooling, sugar in amorphous form of same ratio can be added and mixed thoroughly. Water is sprinkled in such a way that the consistency is reached to make ball like structure manually (Fig 8). In the case of preparing raw laddu, in the above mentioned procedure, basin powder was replaced by coarse form of wheat. Rawa (75 g) was initially roasted for 10 min. In the presence of ghee (37.5 g) and later on CAP (75 g) added to prevent over roasting of principal ingredient. Later, sugar syrup prepared by adding 75 g of sugar in 50 ml of water was transferred to the admixture. After thorough mixing, it needs to be tested for ball consistency. Cooling the mixture in open air, laddu can be formed and decorated with a cashew kernel at the top centre (Fig 8).
While preparing burfi out of CAP, coconut scraps need to be roasted for 15 min under controlled flame. Afterwards, CAP was added and roasting continued. Sugar and water were added to the mixture and continuously stirred to avoid clod formation. Once the forth appears on the periphery of the mixture in the vessel, heating can be stopped and transferred on to SS plate coated with ghee. After cooling, the burfi can be cut in to desired size and shape. In order to make CAP and basin burfi, water should be boiled in the presence of sugar till it reaches ‘string’ consistency. Bengal gram powder (basin) and CAP of required quantity will be mixed thoroughly in the presence of ghee and dough is prepared. Later, this dough was added t the sugar syrup and stirred continuously. Formation of froth from sides, or hole formation in the mixture is the end point (Fig 9). Cardamom powder sprinkled on the surface to add flavour and scouring need to be done in a slightly warm condition to get desired shape and size of burfi.