Agri Business

A little bamboo farm in a small town

A.J. Vinayak Mangalore | Updated on September 10, 2012 Published on September 10, 2012

A view of the giant Burma bamboo plantation at Soans Farm in Moodbidri town. - A.J. Vinayak

Have you ever imagined a lunch in a bamboo farm? No, you have not?

But the foreign tourists coming on cruise voyage to the New Mangalore Port enjoy this amidst the giant bamboo plants at the nearby Moodbidri town.

Soans Farm in Moodbidri (nearly 40 km from Mangalore) has been growing different varieties of bamboos for the past over two decades. Of the around 40 varieties at Soans Farm, species of 27 varieties have been identified. Many of these species have their origins in North-Eastern States and some countries such as Myanmar and Thailand among others.

L.C. Soans of Soans Farm said the name ‘Moodbidri’ or ‘Moodabidire’ is associated with bamboo (bidiru means bamboo in Kannada), and the region was known for bidiru once. It reached a stage when there was no bamboo plant left in the town.

Then Soans Farm started cultivating different varieties, he said. Now bamboo plants are spread over around 1.5 acres.

Showing Budhdhas belly bamboo (Bambusa wamin), I.V. Soans, younger brother of L.C. Soans, said that it is grown as an ornamental plant and also used in handicraft. The young shoots of ‘sweet bamboo’ (Dendrocalamus asper) are used as vegetable.

In fact, the thorn-less, giant Burma bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus) is the tallest one in the farm that grows up to 35 metres. Here is where the foreign tourists are offered lunch after seeing more than 75 crops grown in that nearly 100-acre vast farm.

I.V. Soans said that a 15-year-old giant Burma bamboo clump will have 10-12 young bamboo shoots. Of them, one-third can be used as a vegetable. “We get around six-seven bamboos of three-year-old in a clump,” he said, adding it fetches them around Rs 300 for a three-year-old.

Pineapple is another attraction of the farm. I.V. Soans said that their farm was harvesting around 500 tonnes a year of pineapple a few years ago. Now that has come down to 80 tonnes a year. He attributed this decline to labour shortage in the region.

L.C. Soans said that Soans Farm processes some fruits such as pineapple a bit, and adds value to them.

“It is not viable to focus only on raw crop. We were not getting good price for pineapple during monsoon. Now we are processing them and drying them. Juice is prepared from some of them. People come here, eat frozen pineapple, and go,” he added.

vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in

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Published on September 10, 2012
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