Since agar (Aquilaria Agallocha) is a medium sized tree, it can be grown either as the main, mixed or border crop.
As the main or monocrop, about 600 – 650 agar seedlings can be planted in an acre of land, with a distance of 8’x8’ between them. In such a scenario, after about 8 to 10 years, about 40% of the total number of trees can be harvested to earn the planter a income. Also, the remaining 60% of trees can be allowed to mature for another 2 or more years before they are harvested to bring in more revenue. Forests, dry lands or water draining fields are ideal for this method of agarwood cultivation.
In coconut farms:
Agarwood can be grown as an inter-crop in coconut farms. A distance of at least 10 feet away from the coconut trees should be maintained. Depending on the available space between Cocount trees planting Agar in single row or in two rows is recommended. If planted as single row in-between two rows of coconut tress, a distance of 8 feet is enough between agar plants. In the double row system 15ft distance is to maintained between each Agar plant and 10 to 12 ft in-between Agar and Coconut plant.
There have been instances where Agarwood has grown well even in shaded areas. However, there has been not much difference in the quality of growth of plants that were either grown in direct sunlight or in well-shaded areas.
|In coffee Estates:
Growing agar plants in coffee estates as shade trees is very beneficial. As compared to silver and oak trees, agar promises ten-fold returns in as less a time as possible. Generally, about 75-100 agar plants can be planted in Robusta coffee estates and about 200-300 in Arabica coffee estates that require a lot of shade.
In Tea estates, agarwood can be planted according to the amount of shade need. Agarwood starts providing shade from its third year onwards. When agarwood trees are grafted at regular intervals, factors that foster the production of agarwood get a boost. Since all agarwood trees are not harvested at the same time, shade adjustment can be done with the planting of agarwood trees and other plants.
||In areca nut farms:
About 150 -180 agarwood seedlings can be planted (with a distance of 16’x16’ feet between them) between two rows in both new and 10-15-year-old areca nut farms. If agarwood is taken up as an alternative crop in estates that are affected by the dreaded Yellow Leaf Disease, about 300 – 400 areca seedlings can be planted according to the needs of an estate. In estates where there is a lot of shade, they should be planted only in places where there’s too much of sunlight.
In cardamom estates:
Agar seedlings are naturally growing plants in forest areas, just like cardamom. Since cardamom estates need a good play of shade and light, the cultivation of agarwood in cardamom estates is beneficial in every manner.
In existing cardamom estates, agar can be grown in areas where there is not enough shade. However, in new cardamom estates, they can be grown anywhere, even in places where there is too much of shade.
In Teak plantations:
In young tree plantations Agar will grow along with the teak trees. There are different types of recommendations depending number of teak plants/acre. However up to 160 plants/acre in the approximate distance between each plant not less than 16x16 is best suitable. Planters has to select a good system to plant which allows partial sunlight to Agar plants when the teak tress grows to height. By planting Agar in-between Teak, farmers will get early income as the teak trees take about 20 to 25 years to get timber size. Teak trees will suppress the growth of the Agar plant but Agar trees are non-competitive to teak.
As a border crop:
Agar can be grown as a border crop in the existing coffee, areca nut, cardamom, etc., estates or in khushki fields. Once again, a distance of 8 feet has to be maintained between any two agar plants. If, for some reason, it has not been possible to grow agar either as the main or inter-crop, then it can be grown as the border crop. At times, border crops are beneficial in a number of ways.
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