CHENNAI: A mutant variety of groundnut developed by Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has been cultivated and harvested in the Open Air prison at Purasaidai Udaippu in Sivaganga district and the initial yield is promising.
Speaking to Express on Wednesday, BARC Senior Scientist of Technical Coordination Wing J Daniel Chellappa, said the cultivation of TG37A, a mutant groundnut had begun in 3.5 acres of land belonging to the prison.
The drought resistant, highly nutritious groundnuts which contain 43 per cent oil and 23 per cent protein have already been cultivated in many States including Rajasthan and Maharashtra but this is the first time that it is being cultivated in Tamil Nadu.
“Initially farmers from the State used to buy this variety from other States after it was released in 2008. Now they can buy it from the prison department,” he added.
According to the Prison Department officials, the BARC supplied them with 350 kg (10 gunny bags) of hybrid groundnut seeds for cultivation. The seeds were sown with the help of BARC Technical Coordination Wing and Sivaganga District Agriculture Department on February 2014. The initial yield harvested on Wednesday is promising and the yield could be three times more than ordinary groundnuts.
The seeds have also been sown in Madurai prison on a .75 acres of land on March 9, 2014 besides, 2.5 acres of land in Central Prison in Palayamkottai on March 15.
Prison officials are planning to use the harvested yield as seeds for cultivation in other Central prisons like Salem, Open Air Jail, Singanallur, Vellore, Cuddalore, Trichy and Coimbatore apart from the district and sub jails. The yield is likely to be sold as seeds in the prison bazaar to farmers.
Chellappa said such initiative could be taken up by the corporate sector as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by adopting villages. BARC is ready to provide such technology for the betterment of the livelihood of people, he further added.