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Other Agriculture Products, Pongamia Pinnata, , SAI PETROCHEMICALS P. LTD, India
Agriculture > Other Agriculture Products
Detailed Product Description
Pongamia Pinnata trees are normally planted along the highways, roads,canals to stop soil erosion. Billions of trees exist all over India. Ifthe seeds fallen along road side are collected, and oil is extracted atvillage level expellers, few million tons of oil will be available forLighting the Lamps in rural area. It is the best substitute forKerosene. Since these are spread over a large area, collection of seedsfor BioDiesel manufacture is not viable. (A compact plantation cansupport a BioDiesel plant).
Pongamia pinnata is one of the few nitrogen fixing trees (NFTS) toproduce seeds containing 30-40% oil. It is often planted as anornamental and shade tree. This species is commonly called pongam,karanj, or a derivation of these names.
Botany : Pongam (Leguminoceae, subfamily Papilionoideae) is a mediumsized tree that generally attains a height of about 8 meters and atrunk diameter of more than 50 cm. The trunk is generally short withthick branches spreading into a dense hemispherical crown of dark greenleaves. The bark is thin gray to grayish- brown, and yellow on theinside. The tap root is thick and long, lateral roots are numerous andwell developed.
The alternate, compound pinnate leaves consist of 5 or 7 leaflets whichare arranged in 2 or 3 pairs, and a single terminal leaflet. Leafletsare 5-10 cm long, 4-6 cm wide, and pointed at the tip. Flowers, borneon racemes, are pink, light purple, or white. Pods are elliptical, 3-6cm long and 2-3 cm wide, thick walled, and usually contain a singleseed. Seeds are 10-20 cm long, oblong, and light brown in color.
Ecology : Native to humid and subtropical environments, pongam thrivesin areas having an annual rainfall ranging from 500 to 2500 mm. in itsnatural habitat, the maximum temperature ranges from 27 to 38oC and the minimum 1 to16oC.Mature trees can withstand water logging and slight frost. This speciesgrows to elevations of 1200 m, but in the Himalayan foothills is notfound above 600 m.
Pongam can grow on most soil types ranging from stony to sandy to clay,including Verticals. It does not do well on dry sands. It is highlytolerant of salinity. It is common along waterways or seashores, withits roots in fresh or salt water. Highest growth rates are observed onwell drained soils with assured moisture. Natural reproduction isprofuse by seed and common by root suckers.
Distribution : The natural distribution of pongam is along coasts andriver banks in India and Burma. Native to the Asian subcontinent, thisspecies has been introduced to humid tropical lowlands in thePhilippines, Malaysia, Australia, the Seychelles, the United States andIndonesia.
Wood : pongam is commonly used as fuel wood. Its wood is mediumto coarse textured. However, it is not durable, is susceptible toinsect attack, and tends to split when sown. Thus the wood is notconsidered a quality timber. The wood is used for cabinet making, cartwheels, posts, agricultural implements, tool handles and combs.
Oil : A thick yellow-orange to brown oil is extracted fromseeds. Yields of 25% of volume are possible using a mechanicalexpeller. However, village crushers average a yield of 20% (ICFRE,undated). The oil has a bitter taste and a disagreeable aroma, thus itis not considered edible. In India, the oil is used as a fuel forcooking and lamps. The oil is also used as a lubricant, water-paintbinder, pesticide, and in soap making and tanning industries. The oilis known to have value in folk medicine for the treatment ofrheumatism, as well as human and animal skin diseases. It is effectivein enhancing the pigmentation of skin affected by leucoderma or scabies(ICFRE undated). The oil of Pongam is also used as a substitute fordiesel.
Fodder and feed : Opinions vary on the usefulness of thisspecies as a fodder .The leaves are eaten by cattle and readilyconsumed by goats. However, in many areas it is not commonly eaten byfarm animals. Its fodder value is greatest in arid regions. The oilcake, remaining when oil is extracted from the seeds, is used as apoultry feed.
Other uses : Dried leaves are used as an insect repellent instored grains. The oil cake, when applied to the soil, has pesticidalvalue, particularly against nematodes and also improve soil fertility.
Pongam is often planted in homesteads as a shade or ornamental tree andin avenue plantings along roadsides and canals. It is a preferredspecies for controlling soil erosion and binding sand dunes because ofits dense network of lateral roots. Its root, bark, leaf, sap, andflower also have medicinal properties.
Agro-practices : Sowing and Germination : Pongam is easilyestablished by direct seeds or by planting nursery-raised seedlings orstump cuttings of 1-2 cm root-collar diameter. In peninsular India, theseeding season is April to June, and the seed yield per tree rangesfrom about 10 kg to more than 50 kg. There are 1500-1700 seeds per kg.Seeds, which require no treatment before sowing, remain viable forabout a year when stored air-tight containers. Seed germinates withintwo weeks of sowing. Seedlings attain a height of 25-30 cm in theirfirst growing season.
Transplantation : Transplanting to the field should occur at thebeginning of the next rainy season when seedlings are 60 cm in height(GOI 1983). Seedlings have large root systems. Soil should be retainedaround the roots duringtrans plantation.
The spacing adopted in avenue plantings is about 8 m between plants. Inblock planting, the spacing can range from 2 x 2 to 5 x 5 m. Pongamseedlings withstand shade very well and can beinter planted in existing tree stands.
Management : Pongam should be grown in full sun or partial shadeon well-drained soil. A relatively low maintenance tree onceestablished, is resistant to high winds and drought but is susceptibleto freezing temperatures below 0o C. Pongam will shownutritional deficiencies if grown on soil with a pH above 7.5. Spacemajor limbs along the trunk to increase the structural strength of thetree. Keep limbs less than two-thirds the diameter of the trunk to helpensure that branches are well secured to the tree.
Pests : No pests are of major concern, but caterpillars occasionally cause some defoliation.
Diseases : No diseases are of major concern.
You can plant 200 plants per acre in the formation of 5 m x 4 m. Youcan get yield of 25 to 40 kgs per tree with 30 to 35% oil content. Oneperson can collect 180 kgs of seeds in 8 hours of a day. Seedcollection season in India is from December to April. Seed collectioncost is Rs. 4 per kg.
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