MADURAI: The increase in the yield of ‘Sattur fame’ cucumber in Virudhunagar district, has enthused farmers.
Cucumber is high in nutritional value and a significant source of vitamins and minerals. It is cultivated as a viable cash crop by most of the local community in Sattur, sources said.
Relying on two acres of cultivation on black cotton soil, S Manikandan from Kalingapatti village said, the yield of ‘karisal kattu vellari,’ rose to 4,000 pieces a day on an acre now compared to 2,000 pieces last year. After incurring Rs 15,000 per acre, he’s optimistic of earning Rs 80,000.
M Senthil Velkumar, a farmer from Vannimadai village, Nenmeni panchayat, said Cucumber is synonymous with Sattur, where people never miss tasting it, but all cucumbers could not taste as good as ‘Sattur pinchu,’ which’s soft and tender. Unlike other places, the agrarian practice is different in Sattur, where cucumbers have been cultivated with the aid of tank silt with its clay content to prolong water-holding capacity ensuring soil nutrient and fertility. Attempts were made to take up cultivation in Kurumalai and Uthupatti in Kovilpatti, Thoothukudi, but it did not produce the same taste.
“The 45-day sunlight exposure crop requires minimum water and two time weeding. Cucumber has almost become round the year crop, except for January and December,” Senthil Velkumar said.
A farmer from Nathathupatti village, S Samuthrapandian, said there’s also a growing demand for cucumber seeds extracted from fruit as a kilo was sold at Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000.
Virudhunagar Deputy Director of Horticulture B Radhakrishnan, said, ‘cucumber’ is a drought tolerant crop cultivated primarily on black cotton soil at villages, including Vannimadai, Nathathupatti, Kolvarpatti, Pothireddipatti and Neeravipatti. It’s an indigenous variety, locally known as ‘Sattur Vellaripinchu’. Though cucumbers are grown in Kariapatti in the same district, it could not match the taste as it’s on red soil. More importantly, landless farmers apart from small and marginal agrarian community also benefit from the cucumber cultivation in Sattur as cultivable lands were often leased out by many, he told DT Next.
According to S Mathiazhagan, former Assistant Director, (Quality Control), Virudhunagar, cucumber cultivation is unique in Sattur, where crops were sown mostly in rainfed tanks (kanmois) providing consistent moisture. More importantly, hot summer is ideally conducive to cucumber cultivation. The cultivation on moisture retentive soil is peak in March, April and May, he added.