After propagating mixed plantations of mango, cashew and jackfruit in the Agency areas, where Podu (shifting cultivation) is practiced extensively, the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) is now changing focus to commercial crops like coffee, pepper and even apples as they feel the climate is better suited for these.
ITDA sources said that the whole idea of introducing mixed plantation crops on Podu land was to primarily serve two purposes -to ensure that the land is not deprived of the top soil and to familiarise people living in the Agency area with horticulture.
In many areas, the ITDA, with the help of the horticulture department, introduced mixed plantations of mango, cashew and jackfruit. However, mango and cashew yields have not been at par with jackfruit. ITDA project officer Hari Narayanan said, “It is true that mango has been introduced in many areas as part of mixed plantations. However, we have stopped focussing on mango.Our main focus is now coffee.”