Elephant Yam cultivation in india

Elephant Yam, also known as Suran, Zamikand or Oal, is a tropical tuber crop that is widely grown in Asia and Africa. It is a member of the Araceae family and is similar in appearance to a small tree trunk. The tubers are elongated, with creamy white to yellow flesh. The tubers are a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. It is low in fat and calories, making it a healthy food option. Elephant Yam is a versatile ingredient that can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as boiling, frying, or roasting. It is commonly used in stews, curries, soups, and as a thickening agent for sauces. In some cultures, it is also used to make traditional snacks, desserts, and fermented products. Elephant Yam has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties, and may be helpful in managing conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and respiratory infections.

Climate and Soil Requirements

Elephant Yam is a subtropical and tropical crop which requires humid and warm climatic conditions for its vegetative growth and cool and dry climate for its corm development. A well distributed annual rainfall will result in good productivity. However, in some parts of India, particularly in hot and dry areas, it may be necessary to provide some shade to the plants to prevent them from getting overheated and stressed. This can be achieved by planting the seedlings under trees or other shade-giving plants or by using shade cloth.

Elephant Yam grows well in fertile red-loamy and well-drained soil. The soil pH range of 5.5 to 7.2 is preferred for its cultivation. The soil should be rich in organic matter, such as compost or manure. Additionally, avoid planting in heavy or clay soils as this can result in poor root development and stunted growth.

Varieties and Propagation

Sree Padma and Gagendra are the most popular improved varieties of Elephant Yam in India. They are high yielding and resistant to pests and diseases. Other local varieties include Gajendra (from Andhra Pradesh), Suran-1 (from Kerala), Suran-2 (from Maharashtra), Suran-3 (from Gujarat), Suran-4 (from Odisha) and Suran-5 (from West Bengal).

Elephant Yam is propagated through corms or cormels (small corms). The corms should be healthy, disease-free and weigh about 500 g to 1 kg each. The cormels should weigh about 100 g to 200 g each. The corms or cormels should be treated with fungicides before planting to prevent fungal infections.

Land Preparation, Spacing and Planting

The land should be prepared by ploughing and harrowing to bring the soil to a fine tilth. The land should be leveled and weed-free before planting. The planting time depends on the climatic conditions of the region. Generally, planting is done from February to April in areas with summer rainfall and from June to August in areas with winter rainfall.

The planting method depends on the soil type and water availability. In well-drained soils with sufficient moisture, the corms or cormels can be planted directly in the field at a depth of 10 cm to 15 cm. In heavy or clay soils or in areas with water scarcity, the corms or cormels can be planted in pits filled with well decomposed cow dung and sandy loam soil.

The spacing between the plants should be about 60 cm x 60 cm for corms and 45 cm x 45 cm for cormels. The rows should be oriented in north-south direction to ensure maximum sunlight exposure.

Irrigation and Weed Control

Elephant Yam requires regular irrigation during its growth period to ensure optimum yield. The frequency and amount of irrigation depends on the soil type, rainfall pattern and climatic conditions of the region. Generally, irrigation is done once every 10 days to 15 days during dry spells. However, over-watering should be avoided as this can cause root rot and fungal diseases.

Weed control is essential for Elephant Yam cultivation as weeds compete with the crop for nutrients, water and space. Weeding should be done manually or mechanically at regular intervals. Mulching with organic materials such as straw, leaves or grass can help in conserving soil moisture and suppressing weed growth.

Fertilization and Pest Management

Elephant Yam requires adequate fertilization to ensure high yield and quality. The recommended dose of fertilizer is 100 kg of nitrogen, 50 kg of phosphorus and 50 kg of potassium per hectare. The fertilizer should be applied in two split doses, one at the time of planting and the other after 60 days of planting. Organic manures such as compost, vermicompost or farmyard manure can also be applied to improve soil fertility and crop health.

Elephant Yam is relatively resistant to pests and diseases, but some common problems that may affect the crop are:

  • Mealybugs: These are small, white, cottony insects that suck the sap from the plant parts. They can cause yellowing, wilting and stunting of the plants. They can be controlled by spraying neem oil or insecticidal soap on the affected parts.
  • Aphids: These are small, green, black or brown insects that also suck the sap from the plant parts. They can cause curling, distortion and discoloration of the leaves. They can be controlled by spraying neem oil or insecticidal soap on the affected parts.
  • Leaf spot: This is a fungal disease that causes brown or black spots on the leaves. It can reduce the photosynthetic activity and yield of the crop. It can be controlled by spraying fungicides such as copper oxychloride or mancozeb on the affected parts.
  • Corm rot: This is another fungal disease that causes decay and rotting of the corms. It can result in poor germination and reduced yield. It can be prevented by treating the corms with fungicides before planting and avoiding over-watering and waterlogging.

Harvesting and Storage

Elephant Yam takes about 8 months to 10 months to mature and produce tubers. The maturity of the crop can be judged by the yellowing and drying of the leaves. The tubers should be harvested carefully with a spade or a fork without damaging them. The tubers should be cleaned of soil and other debris and dried in shade for a few days.

The tubers can be stored for up to 6 months in a cool and dry place. The storage place should be well ventilated and rodent-proof. The tubers should be checked regularly for signs of spoilage or damage and discarded if found.

Yield and Marketing

The average yield of Elephant Yam is about 20 tonnes to 25 tonnes per hectare. The yield may vary depending on the variety, soil type, climatic conditions, irrigation, fertilization, pest management and harvesting practices.

Elephant Yam has a good market demand in India and abroad. It is sold in fresh, dried or processed forms. The fresh tubers are sold in local markets or exported to other states or countries. The dried tubers are used to make flour, chips or starch. The processed products include pickles, jams, candies, papads and snacks.

Elephant Yam is a profitable crop that can provide income and food security to farmers. It is easy to cultivate and requires minimal inputs and care. It is also a nutritious and medicinal food that can benefit human health.

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