Friday, 28 September 2012

Choosing the Right Variety within a Crop

In our Agriculture for Everybody blog series, we are going to see how to choose the Right Variety within a Crop.

Once we have decided on the Crop, the next step will be to decide on a variety in that particular crop.

The following are some of the factors to decide on the variety:-

  1. End Usage
  2. Diversity in Varieties
  3. Time Diversity

End Usage - The meaning of End Usage is different for different crops.  I am giving an example of 2 crops here.

Coconut Tree
  • Coconuts are directly consumed which we call as Tender Coconut
  • Coconuts are used in Cooking for Chutney Paste etc
  • Coconuts are used as Oil for Cooking as well as for Hair
Mango Tree
  • Mangoes are used in Cooking
  • Mangoes can be directly consumed (Table Top)
  • Mangoes are made as Juice (Pulp) and sold by big companies
So, the ideas is to decide which segment are we focusing.  Do we want to focus on a single segment or do we want to focus on multiple segments?

Diversity in Varieties - The fact of the matter is different people like different mangoes based on their taste buds.  I may like Malgoa from Salem, others may like Alphonso (export market potential) etc.  Keeping in view this factor, it will be necessary for a cultivator to go for multiple varieties in the same crop.  This also will ensure there no particular variety is over produced and hence no wastage.

Time Diversity - Please note the word Diversity here.  I will be referring to this many more times in different contexts.

Again, I want to give examples here so that it is easy for a layman to understand what I mean.

Lets take the case of Mangoes as an example.  While choosing Mangoes, we have already seen whether it will be used mainly as Table Top or Pulp.  Assuming we have considered this factor already, the next question to address is, should our production be available at a single point of time or made available in different times?

There are Mango varieties that bear fruits during early, midseason & late seasons.  If our entire Mango crop comes to production during the same season, there will be over production and there are possibilities of wastages as well as profit hit.  If we plan our production in different seasons, the production will be balanced and we can market the produce in a timely manner.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Choosing the Right Crop

In our Agriculture for Everybody blog series, we are going to see how to choose the Right Crop.

The following are some of the important parameters to consider for identifying or narrowing down to the right crop. It does not mean these factors alone will be be sufficient but can give you a headstart in finalzing the crop.

Please note that the mention of crops includes everything (Plants, Animals etc).

The basic parameters are:-
  1. Land Bank
  2. Soil Type
  3. Water Availability
  4. Gestation Period
  5. Net Profit
Land Bank means the available land on hand.  This is a very important parameter as this will decide the scale of operations.

Soil Type will help to decide the Crops that can be grown in that land.

Water Availability - Helps you to identify the Crops based on the water resources available.

Gestation Period - How much time you will have to wait before you can start your harvest?

Net Profit - When there are multiple choices available considering the first four parameters, this will be the deciding factor.

You may be surprised to note that I have not mentioned Money as an important factor.  I feel that Money is NOT  the deciding factor but it is necessary to an extent.

I am presenting few ideas here and I hope this will kindle your imagination further.

Do you know that even without owning any Land Bank you can do agriculture related activity?

1. You can do Honey Bee farming from your house (Urban as well as Rural).
2. You can do Fish Farming in your Village Tank, Pond etc (after getting the permissions and paying the necessary fees)

Is there any activity that can be done in small land holding (less than 2400 sq ft)?

1. You can go for Mushroom Farming
2. You can go for Rabbit Farming
3. You can go for Pigeon Farming
4. You can go for Sericulture Farming

If anybody has more ideas, please let me know.  I will add to this list.