Kozhikode man grows arrowroot on 4 acres of land; receives order from Australia
Kozhikode: Koodaranji native Abraham aka Appachan is scripting a success saga through arrowroot farming which can be cultivated at minimum cost but fetches huge profit. He is making value added products from arrowroot and earns a decent income from it.
Abraham has cultivated arrowroot (Koova in Malayalam) in about 4 acres of land at different places including Koodaranji and Thiruvambadi. He has been growing arrowroot for the last 25 years. He inter-crops the plant with rubber, coconut and areca nut.
He grows all varieties of arrowroot which are locally known as ‘Bilathi Koova’, ‘Neela Koova’ and ‘Manja Koova’. Though no fertilizers are applied while intercropping, using cow dung as fertilizer can multiply yield, Abraham opined.
The major challenge for farmers in hilly areas is the attack of wild animals such as elephant and wild boars. But arrowroot is rarely attacked by animals and pests. Only white variety of arrowroot is eaten by rodents.
Abraham said that he sows the seeds for next season soon after harvesting the tuber in one season. The crop will be ready to harvest in 10 months. Moist soil is ideal for arrowroot farming. Finger-sized tubers are used for planting. The sprouts emerging on the mother plant also is used.
Making arrowroot powder is a time consuming task. First the tuber is ground finely and then filtered through a clean cotton cloth. This liquid is then kept aside for settling and then dried.
Arrowroot is nutritious and is rich with carbohydrate, protein, sodium, potassium and calcium. Drinking water mixed with arrowroot powder is good to balance body temperature during summer. The powder can be used to make sweet meats and other food items.
Abraham said that he has customers all over the state. Recently, he received order from Australia. The NRIs in Australia demanded 5 tonnes of arrowroot. As he did not have sufficient stock, he could not accept the order. People returning to Gulf countries always buy arrowroot from me, he said.
Koodaranji Krishi Bhavan agriculture assistant Michelle George said that the weather in Kerala is suitable for arrowroot farming. It can be planted by the onset of monsoon in June. As a medicinal crop, it has huge demand in market, Michelle added.