Malabar neem Agrofarming
Farmers who have been into social forestry plantations in a big way as an alternative to tobacco cultivation in drought-prone districts are finding a better alternative in Malabar neem.
Having incurred losses growing subabul and eucalyptus, farmers are taking to Malabar neem cultivation in a big way,
Under rain-fed condition, Malabar neem cultivation is a safe bet for farmers as it gains a height of 40 ft. in just 2 years and start giving returns from the fifth year itself. While farmers opting to sell Malabar neem to paper mills can easily get a premium price of Rs.5,500 per tonne, those waiting for eight years can get up to Rs. 8,000 per tonne. The good thing is that it is also encouraged in the government social welfare programmes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme(MGNREGS) to improve the green cover.
Multiple uses of Malabar neem(malabar vepa or Melia dubia)
Farmers could get decent returns in view of the multiple uses for Malabar neem in view of its anti-termite quality. The wood with high calorific value, is also used for packing cases, ceiling planks, building purposes, agricultural implements, pencils, match boxes, catamarans, musical instruments and tea boxes.
In the coming years, more farmers will switch over to Malabar neem from the conventional subabul and eucalyptus with the paper mills driving down the prices for these social forestry crops.