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Know how to Grow Noni (Indian Mulberry) in Your Backyard from Bokaro Man

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Nov 24, 2022 6:00 PM

Read Time: 3 minute

Noni, also known as the Indian Mulberry, is a native fruit that has been used by ayurvedic practitioners for thousands of years. It is regarded as a sanjeevani fruit (fruit of immortality). Pectin, vitamin C, amino acids, and other minerals are abundant in the fruit. Its juice is said to boost immunity, promote hair growth, and prevent tumours and cancerous cells from spreading, among other things.

This fruit and plant, however, are rare because they are only grown along the coasts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Odisha because the seeds require a tropical climate to germinate.

Prasenjeet Kumar, the founder of Jivanbodh Agrotech and a Bsc Agriculture graduate of Jharkhand Rai University, has successfully grown noni in his backyard in Bokaro, Jharkhand.

Obtaining Noni Seeds

Prasenjeet began locating a field in Odisha where Noni was already being grown. He learned from them that the seed's tough exterior causes it to take up to six months to grow into a sapling. The seed remains in tropical conditions for these six months.

“The farm was open to giving me a cutting or a plant when I contacted them, but they were hesitant to give me seeds. In non-coastal places, seeds have so far failed to produce any harvest. However, I wished to grow Noni from seed in order to produce a plant suited for the climatic conditions of Bokaro. As a result, I persuaded them and spent Rs 1,000 on 200 seeds,” said Prasenjeet.

Germinating the seeds

After receiving the seeds, he went to a plant breeding professor at JRU University for advice on how to get the seeds to germinate. The professor suggested breaking the shell of the seeds by immersing them in concentrated sulfuric acid for two minutes. However, he cautioned them that sulfuric acid can cause skin burns.

He bought some concentrated sulfuric acid, immersed the seeds in it, and then peeled off the outer layer. He erected wooden sticks and covered them in plastic sheeting to create the polyhouse. 116 of the 200 seeds that were individually inserted into sapling containers grew after 50 days. None of the others grew.

The saplings were transferred to the garden soil, which had been improved with organic manure and compost. Only 16 saplings reached a healthy three-foot height within 
a few months.

"The trees were filled with Noni fruits by November 2019, following the monsoon rains. The first year, I harvested up to 45 kg. I can collect at least 10 fruits from each tree each 
month because the tree bears fruit and flowers all year long, said Prasenjeet.

He is currently using the fruits for his consumption rather than selling them. His mother uses a conventional technique to extract the juice and gives it to some patients.

Aims to Empower Other Farmers

Prasenjeet gathered more seeds from the harvested fruits and attempted germination once more. He did not, however, use concentrated sulfuric acid this time. The seeds grew into plants in 45-50 days using the same polyhouse technique.

He added, "I just tested this with four seeds, and they worked. I think the seeds can be cultivated by other farmers as well because they have adapted to the Bokaro climate.” Prasenjeet further notes that 10 seeds typically cost Rs 250 and that a kilogram is worth Rs 800.

He aims to demonstrate his success to Hemant Soren, the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, in order to encourage other farmers to plant Noni and improve their living conditions.

Also Read: 7 ways to Boost Spinach Growth

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