Attractive profit from 'noni' fruit; syrup fetches Rs 1200 per litre
The Keralites have started realising the value of noni fruit which usually grows in marshlands. A farmers' collective named Nelkrishi Agro Society in Kodali of Thrissur has come up with a value added business venture using noni.
Noni tree was considered as a useless plant in Kerala, but actually noni fruit is a rich source of over 150 medicinal elements like pro-xeronine, zeronine, scopoletin, beta-sitosterol, potassium, carotene, iron, Vitamin A and C. Processed noni fruit juice is widely used for the treatment of diabetes, blood pressure, arthritis and liver disease.
Identifying these possibilities, the farmers of the Nelkrishi Agro Society started noni cultivation and manufacturing value added products from it 9 years ago. Now they grow noni tree in 3 acres of land and about 200 farmers are part of the venture. In addition to the harvest from own farms, the society also collect fruits from farmers in Thrissur and Ernakulam districts.
Noni tree grows upto 3 meters and is capable of growing even in acidic or saline soil. Saplings can be planted at a distance of 2 meters. Fill the holes with top soil and cow dung powder. Irrigation will help boost fruit production. Plants do not require much care.
Hybrid varieties are better than ordinary ones, said Sruthi, a young farmer. The tree starts bearing fruits within six months. The fruits of hybrid varieties weigh upto 200-400 grams. Fruits can be harvested once in two months from a one-year-old tree. Upto 12 kilograms of fruit can be harvested annually from a tree.
Value added products like syrup and capsule are made from noni fruit. About 2000 kilograms of noni fruit is processed a month, said Aju, a farmer. There are buyers even if 6000 kilograms of fruit is processed and value added products are developed.
Syrup and powder of noni fruit is mostly sold in Gulf countries. There are machines for producing the items. About 300 millilitre syrup can be produced from one kilo fruit. The syrup costs upto Rs 1200 per litre. Aju said that they are trying to attract more farmers to this industry by offering them training and saplings to start cultivation.
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