Sunday, 17 June 2012

Taro: A crop for flooded fields

Taro ( Arvi ) loves warm weather and lots of water to grow.

Hot Summer days might be unbearable for you, but some vegetables just spring into life during this time. Taro (Arvi) is one of them.

June seems to be just the perfect time to plant Taro in my container kitchen garden since we are expecting monsoon in a couple of weeks. This will bring lots of rain water for my Taro plants to grow into stunning huge plants. Some fields in Sindh might not have to wait for monsoons for Taro to be planted.

Badin on June 10th ,2012. Water from 2011 monsoon is still there!

Floods, during last monsoon, devastated many areas of Sindh in Pakistan. Badin, the most affected area, has still not recovered from it and the next monsoon is on the way. Acres of land is still under water, making it useless to grow any crop. I feel growing Taro must be experimented with there, as this might just turn into bliss for farmers who lost their land. The reasons are multiple, because of heavy rains, poor maintenance of drains across a very large region and criminal diversion of flood water to save certain fields. 

image of a Taro feild by
Since Taro loves lots of water and is grown in water, it seems to be an ideal crop for flood affected areasAccording to A K Khan's book, 'The Vegetables', Taro (Kachalo, Arvi) is grown from February to March and from October to November. Early varieties are harvested in 3.5 months while the late varieties are harvested in 5 months. From a 400 to 600 kilograms (kg) tubers, that will be used as seeds, farmer can expect an average yield of 60,000 to 80,000 kg per acre !

Imagine what profits farmers can gain from using flood water to grow Taro.

Although, this research seems to be a perfect solution, experts in growing Taro can share their expertise with NGOs and individuals who are trying to help villagers in the affected areas. 

 A fisherfolk community in Badin during a meeting with volunteers from the fisher folk forum and friends.
Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum is working in Badin with a village of fisherfolk to help them recover from previous monsoons, and to help prepare them to bear  next one. May be some of us can work with this same community and teach them to grow Taro!

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further reading

crops in pots