February 3, 2007 1:53am CST
Orchard is a long term asset for any farmer. Once established, it keeps on giving return to the farmer on an ongoing basis. Of late, there has been a lot of interest by the partners to promote orchards for their beneficiaries. However there are few problems that are always associated with orchards. Gestation period: Orchards are normally associated with long gestation period. Commonly popular orchard Mango has a five year gestation period. During this period farmers normally don't get any income. Hence poor farmers normally do not like orchards as they cannot wait for this gestation period. Without any income, however there are two solutions to this problem. One, there are some orchards that have less than five years gestation period. For example Lemon and Drumstick have 2-3 years gestation period, where as Banana and Papaya have one year gestation period. With intercrop, farmers can also get income during the gestation period. Perishable: Many of the fruits are highly perishable and poor farmers with less command over logistics and marketing face severe problems with fruits and vegetables that are perishable in nature. Hence Papaya and Banana being quite perishable are not recommended for poor farmers. Watering: At the same time pot irrigation is also quite labour intensive. These problems multiply during the summer season when the water availability is limited. However low cost drip irrigation has been found to be a solution to this problem. CCF - India will promote small orchards taking into account these problems and these are addressed as part of the program.