He stores areca in a tank

INGENUITY Puttur taluk’s agriculturist Ganaraj Kumble has a simple method of storing areca, in bags in a tank. Photo by Sibanthi Padmanabha K V

For the areca growers of coastal districts, drying areca in the rainy season is indeed a Herculean task. The rainy season in the region usually extends for about five to six months, from mid-May up to October. The rainfall is also comparatively high here. On the other hand, areca is a unique crop that fetches high yield even during rain. Some of the hybrid varieties like Mangala produce a good yield all-year round, while many local varieties are ready for harvest by August. Growers experience a lot of inconvenience in preserving the yield, because drying areca is the only way to prepare it for the market.
However, for Ganaraj Kumble, a college lecturer, an artiste and an agriculturist from Koila village of Puttur taluk (Dakshina Kannada), handling areca in the rainy season is not at all a difficult task. His method is very simple: storing areca bags in a tank and filling water into it so that they get drowned.

“You cannot dry the areca produce in the courtyard when it rains incessantly. But you have to dry it at any cost or else it decays. Many use their attic to do this, while there are others who use driers nowadays. But thanks to this method, I keep the yield safe without drying them till the sunny days are back,” says Kumble.

According to him, storing raw areca in water does not harm its quality when it is dried later. “It is 100 per cent safe. At the same time, there is no difference in the quality compared to the areca dried immediately after the harvest. This is one of the cheapest ways of keeping the yield safe until the rainy season gets over,” he says. “In fact, my method is by no means a new one. People in villages followed the same technique, albeit with variations. They stored areca bags in ponds, bunds and rivulets. But there is always a fear of the areca bags getting clogged in mud or washed away when there are floods. Storing them in an artificial tank is safer,” he explains. By installing a solar water heater above the five-ft square areca tank, Kumble has been able to make the best use of the minimum space too.

Sibanthi Padmanabha K V

Crores of business in a tiny village

It is a tiny village. But the business of the weekly bazaar here runs into nearly Rs one crore. Kukanapalli, a small village near Koppal, is well known for its weekly market. From the last 25 years, the vaarada santhe is held here every Friday.

It is just like any other weekly bazaar. But the range of goods brought here runs into a hundred, from vegetables to groceries and hens to sheep.

The market was started 25 years ago on a small scale to cater to the needs of consumers. Farmers sell their agricultural products. Ten years ago, when sheep and goat traders entered the market, the situation took a dramatic turn.

Traders bought goats and sheep, and made huge profits when they sold them in major cities. Quintals of rice, red gram, and other pulses are sold here. Merchants from other cities come here and sell spices, clothes, plastic items, leather products etc. Various tools for farming activities like ropes, traditional pots, axes, plough tools are available here easily. More than 10,000 people in tow with hundreds of trucks assemble here every Friday.

Ananda Teertha Pyati