CUDDALORE: A 26-year old farmer, with a Masters degree in Engineering, has successfully taken up casuarina cloning in Cuddalore and is now encouraging other farmers to take up the practice, which can rake in profits in just two years.
P Sakthivel, who runs the Santhi Clonal nursery at Kurinchipadi, after obtaining training from the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding at Coimbatore, has undertaken a project to generate 1 crore saplings for distribution among farmers.
The farmer has now begun supplying saplings to corporate giants such as ITC, TNPL and Seshasayee paper mills for at least Rs 5,000 for a tonne.
After seeing his father grow several ornamental flowering plants in their farm, Sakthivel urged him to take up casuarina cultivation. Though they ventured in for casuarina three years ago, it was only in January this year the new variety CH1 and CH5 reaped them much profit. CHI and CH5 varieties were launched after several years of research by the IFGTB.
He claims that he is the only person in State who has taken up the rights for the varieties, paying a sum of Rs 6 lakh, as no one else was willing to take up Casuarina cultivation.
“Normally these trees take at least 4-5 years for proper maturation, however the new varieties can mature in two years. This tree cultivation should be encouraged,” says Sakthivel, who has raised a nursery after entering into an Memorandum of Understanding with the Coimbatore based institute, where the varieties were found by scientist Nicodamus.
Though the land is very fertile for casuarina farming, most farmers are not interested due to the long period it takes to mature. However, he claims the CH1 and CH5 varieties take less time are also high in quality.
As most paper companies tend to import raw materials from abroad, the demand is always present. Thus farmers can easily make profit with minimum production cost, he added.