AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Fruits occupied an area of 2907.900 hectares (7,180 acres) in 1958-59, 3020.490 hectares (7,458 acres) in 1959-60 and 3580.605 hectares (8,841 acres) in 1960-61. The fruit crops grown in this district are orange, sweet orange, sour lime, mango, banana, pomegranate, guava, custard apple, papaya and bullock heart (ramphal).

Table No. 20 gives the area under orange, mangoes and total fruit crops in the district.

TABLE No. 20

AREA UNDER FRUITS (TALUKA-WISE) IN AMRAVATI DISTRICT IN 1958-59, 1959-60 AND 1960-61

(Figures in hectares)†

Taluka

Mangoes

Mandarin Orange

Total Fruits*

1958-59

1959-60

1960-61

1958-
59

1959-
60

1960-

61

1958-

59

1959-

60

1960-

61

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

(7)

(8)

(9)

(10)

Amravati

186.300 (460)

181.440 (448)

181.440 (448)

84.240 (208)

116.235 (287)

105.300 (260)

383.535 (947)

418.365 (1,033)

467.370 (1,154)

Chandur

46.980 (116)

46.575 (115)

59.130 (146)

93.150 (230)

93150 (230)

93.150 (230)

212.220 (524)

269.730 (666)

267.705 (661)

Morshi

89.910 (222)

73.710 (182)

74.925 (185)

1,287.495 (3,179)

1,234.035 (3,047)

1,639.035 (4,047)

1,739.880 (4,296)

1,790.505 (4,421)

2,236.005 (5.521)

Daryapur

110.970 (274)

91.125 (225)

115.830 (286)

10.935 (27)

16.605 (41)

17.415 (43)

164.335 (407)

153.090 (378)

176.175 (435)

Achalpur

285.120 (704)

236.115 (583)

240.165 (593)

44.550 (110)

44.550 (110)

51.435 (127)

402.975 (995)

383.130 (946)

427.680 (1,056)

Melghat

2.430 (6)

3.643 (9)

3.645 (9)

--

--

--

4.455 (11)

5.670 (14)

5.670 (14)

District Total

721.710 (1,782)

632.610 (1.562)

675.136 (1,667)

1,520.370 (3,754)

1,504.575 (3,715)

1,906.333 (4,707)

2,907.900 (7,180)

3,020.490 (7,458)

3,580.605 (8,841)

Note.—* Also includes the acreage under Banana, Sweet Orange, Sour lime, Citrus fruits, Pomegranate, Guava, Custard apple, Papaya, Bullock Heart and other fruits.

†Figures in brackets indicate area in acres.

Orange.

Orange is by far the most important fruit crop of Amravati district. The Amravati orange, like the Nagpur orange, is valued for us peculiar flavour and taste. Oranges occupied an area of 1907.145 hectares (4.709 acres) in 1960-61, of which 1639.035 hectares (4,047 acres) were in Morshi tahsil alone.

The medium black soil locally known as antarpathi, is most suitable for orange cultivation. Loamy soil with a mixture of lime nodules is also suitable. The seedlings of oranges which are primarily grown in nurseries [About 4,00,000 seedlings are being raised by the 60 private nurseries in the district.] are planted during the rains and are liberally manured. Planting is done in straight rows which are spaced at a distance of 4.572 in. (15') apart each way. Orange is generally grown as a sole crop. But during the first four years after plantation, the cultivators take catch crops like cotton, jowar, banana and vegetables in the space between the rows. The cultivators favour the soil conditions created by the catch crop of banana as conducive to the growth of orange plants.

The plants are irrigated at intervals of 10 to 12 days during the cold weather, and at intervals of 6 days during the season. The frequency of irrigation is a very important factor in the cultivation of oranges. The plants are manured with cowdung before and at the end of the rainy season. The trees require individual manuring in the form of well-rotted farm-yard manure which is given at the rate of 10.120 to 21.650 kg. (40 to 50 pounds) per tree.

The trees begin to bear from the fifth year, and are in full bearing from the seventh year. They bear fruits for about 30 years. There are two orange seasons in a year, one between October and December, and the second between February and April. The first is known as Ambia bahar and the latter as Mrug bahar. [They have been so called because the blossoming of orange trees under the Ambia bahar corresponds with the blossoming of mango trees and that of the Mrug bahar corresponds to the Mrug Nakshatra in June.] The oranges of the latter season are better in taste and flavour and last longer. Hence, they fetch a better price.

One good tree yields from 500 to 1,000 fruits, at which rate the trees in one acre together yield about 67,000 fruits.

The orange crop is sometimes damaged by violent winds and hail storms. The chief insect pests which infest the crop are caterpillars (Virchal isocrates) which bore the fruit, and stem borers (Chloridolum alcmene).

The following statement gives the item-wise cost of cultivation per acre of orange crop in the district.

Item of expenditure

Amount

FIRST YEAR

Rs.

Ploughing by iron plough

25

Moghada after ploughing

11

Two harrowings

10

Layout of field

5

Plantation, etc.

25

Cost of 10 cart-loads of manure

100

Cost of 118 orange plants

118

Cost of top-dressing in winter

20

Cost of irrigation (32 times)

150

Pruning charges

5

Fencing and protecting

50

Total

519

Mangoes.

Mango (amba) is another important fruit, crop of this district. The acreage under this crop was 721.710 hectares (1,782 acres) in 1958-59, 632.610 hectares (1,562 acres) in 1959-60 and 675.135 hectares (1,667 acres) in 1960-61. The talukas of Achalpur and Amravati are the biggest producers of mangoes. Besides the mango groves, the trees also flourish on field boundaries.

Most of the mango trees are of non-descript varieties and cannot be compared with alphonso mangoes.

Seedlings raised from mango stones are planted on bunds along the border of the fields in pits of 3 cubic feet each. The pits are filled with good soil and green manure. Two seedlings are planted in a pit, but only one is retained at a later stage. One year old seedlings raised in Kundis (earthen pots) are also planted. Mango tree bears fruit after about seven years.

Cloudy weather and gusty winds cause florescence to shed and reduces the yield considerably. Ripe mangoes are relished by all, while raw mangoes (Kairi) are used for preparing pickles, Chutney, etc.

Banana.

Banana (kele) covers an area of 386.370 hectares (954 acres) in this district. The main centres of banana cultivation are Jarud and Warud in Morshi tahsil. This taluka alone accounts for about 191.160 hectares (472 acres) under the crop.

The banana crop requires medium light soil having good drainage. The field is required to be thoroughly ploughed pulverised and harrowed. It is then manured. Bold seedlings (suckers) are planted in June. They are planted in rows at a distance of about 1.372 m. (four and a half feet) from one another. The rows are first marked with shallow furrows. The crop requires frequent irrigation, viz., twice a week in the dry season.

The Basarai variety, also known as Bhusawal green, is mainly planted in this district. The crop is not easily affected by pests or diseases. It however requires very intensive efforts in respect of preparing the soil, manuring, irrigation and cutting the leaves. Top-dressing of oil-cake and ammonium sulphate in the fourth and the seventh months from planting are necessary.  The plants mature after about 12 months. Banana is harvested  when the fruits get rounded.

An acre of banana orchard contains about 2,000 plants. Each plant yields one bunch containing six to twelve dozens of bananas.

Guava.

Guava (peru) occupies an area of about 70.065 hectares (173 acres) which is mostly in the Amravati and Achalpur tahsils. It requires black fertile soil. Though guava seeds can be sown by propagation, for quality fruit, grafts of selected trees are planted. Planting is done in pits which are 4.572 m. to 6.096 m. (15' to 20') apart from each other. Before planting, the soil is well prepared and pits arc filled with farm-yard manure. Frequent irrigation is essential in the dry season. Inter-crops, such as vegetables, are usually allowed for a couple of years between the rows of guava trees. Guava starts blossoming after about three years. Fruit-bearing trees are given heavy doses of manure.

In February-March, the soil is dug up and the roots laid bare for a fortnight. Before the trees shed leaves, the beds are manured and irrigated. The beds are frequently pulverised. Fruits are plucked when they turn yellowish. There are two seasons of this fruit, viz., one in August-September and another in November-December.

Vegetables.

The principal vegetables in this district are onion, brinjal, sweet potato, cabbage, tomato, lady's finger, carrot, radish and wal. They occupy an area of 1069.605 hectares (2,641 acres) in the district. The following table gives the acreage under vegetables in the years 1958-59, 1959-60 and 1960-61 in the district: —

TABLE No. 21

AREA UNDER VEGETABLES (TALUKA-WISE) IN AMRAVATI DISTRICT IN 1958-59, 1959-60 AND 1960-61

(Area in hectares1)

Taluka

Total Vegetables*

1958-59

1959-60

1960-61

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

Amravati

199.260

378.675

293.625

--

(492)

(935)

(725)

Chandur

140.130

118.260

179.415

--

(346)

(292)

(443)

Morshi

193.995

193.185

197.640

--

(479)

(477)

(488)

Daryapur

126.765

148.635

144.180

--

(313)

(367)

(356)

Achalpur

273.375

308.205

244.215

--

(675)

(761)

(603)

Melghat

8.100

6.075

10.530

--

(20)

(15)

(26)

District Total

941.625

1,153.035

1,069.605

(2,325)

(2,847)

(2,641)

1 Figures in brackets arc in acres.

*Also includes the acreage under Sweet potato, Topioca, Onion, Carrot, Radish, Cabbage, Brinjal, Tomato, Fenugreek, Bhendi, Musk Melon, and other vegetables.

The vegetable production in Amravati district is limited to meet only local demand. There is no exportable surplus of vegetables. there are marked seasonal variations in vegetable supply which is ample during the period between October and March.

Onion.

Onion (Kanda), a tuber vegetable, is grown all over the dis- trict except the Melghat tahsil. It covered an area of 205.740 hectares (508 acres) in 1960-61.

It is mainly a garden crop taken in soft black loam soil. The land is ploughed and pulverised thoroughly. Onion seeds are sown on raised seed beds in September and the seedlings are transplanted in October-November. Before transplanting the soil is irrigated. This crop requires very liberal manuring. Rotten cowdung and phosphate are preferred.

The onion bulbs are ready for harvesting in about three months. The average yield of this crop ranges from 2612.400 Kg. to 3732.000 Kg. (70 maunds to 100 maunds) per acre under ideal conditions.

Sweet Potato.

Sweet potato (ratale), a root vegetable, occupied an area of 179.820 hectares (444 acres) in 1960-61. Though Achalpur and Daryapur tahsils are the main producers of ratale, it is also fairly produced in the Morshi and Chandur tahsils.

Cuttings or sets with three nodes are planted on both the sides of the ridges. The crop needs about six cart-loads of manure and frequent irrigation. It thrives well in rich black soil. It is ready for harvest in about six month's time. Ratales are eaten green, boiled or roasted. The leaves are used as green fodder for cattle.

Radish.

Radish (mula), though usually produced as a main crop, is also taken as a mixed [It is said to be mixed crop when radish is planted mixed with some other vegetables or wheat crop; while in inter-crop radish is planted in rows in between the rows of other crops.] crop or inter-crop. It is grown in the rainy season as well as in the winter. But the winter crop is the main one. The winter radish are more tasty, crisp and fully grown. Radish is sown by propagating the seed either on bare soil or in other crops. Radish requires frequent irrigation at an interval of five to six days. The roots (mula) get ready for harvesting (uprooting) in about five weeks.

The roots as well as leaves are used as vegetable and in the preparation of salad.

Brinjal.

Brinjal (Vangi) is one of the most important vegetable crops in Amravati district. It covered an area of 205.335 hectares (507 acres) in 1960-61. It is grown all over the district except Melghat tahsil. Though it is sometimes grown as a rain-fed crop, Vangi is mainly an irrigated vegetable crop.

Brinjal seeds are sown in seed-beds in the beginning of June. The seedlings are ready for transplantation in July. The seedlmgs are planted in rows which are about 0.610 m. (two feet) apart. They begin to bear from October. The summer brinjal crop is planted in January. It begins to bear from the end of Marcb.

Brinjal is used very often as a vegetable at home and at community feasts.

Cabbage.

Cabbage (Kobi) occupied an area of 103.680 hectares (256 acres) in 1960-61. It is cultivated in loamy or clay loam soil. Intensive manuring and irrigation are of extreme importance for cabbage cultivation. Top-dressing of oil-cake and ammonium sulphate is usually given after one month of plantation. The seeds of cabbage are sown in nursery beds in August and the seedlings are transplanted in September. The crop gets ready for harvesting in about three to four months. The cabbage heads are used as vegetable whereas leaves are fed to cattle.

Tomato.

Tomato is mainly a winter crop in the district. It occupies an area of 66.015 hectares (163 acres) in 1960-61. Medium black soil is highly suitable for tomato cultivation. It is produced on a considerable scale in the Amravati tahsil.

Tomato seeds are propagated in nursery beds and the seedlings are transplanted after three to four weeks. Two seedlings are planted together. It is also grown as a mixed crop alongwith chillis and brinjals. It requires frequent irrigation and heavy doses of manure. Ammonia sulphate and groundnut cake are highly beneficial to the crop. It is harvested after about 21/2 to 3 months. Green tomatoes arc used as a vegetable, while the ripe ones are either eaten as a table fruit or used in the preparation of salad.

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