GOVERNMENT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Rc. No. 45008/2003/PMU-I/1,
of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests
Complex, M.J. Market Road, Hyderabad.
Sri. S. K. Das, I.F.S.,
Chief Conservator of Forests.
- CFM – Tending of Seethaphal trees in VSS areas – Reg.
Anona squamousa, the custard apple,
popularly called Seethaphal is prdominent NTFP species available
mostly in the degraded forests of the State especially in drier
districts like Rangareddy, Medak, Nizamabad, Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar,
Kurnool, Kadapa, Chittoor etc. this species grows in some pockets even in
the moister districts like East Godavari, West Godavai, Visakhapatnam
etc., It is a native of tropical South America and
the West Indies, but has become naturealised in this country through
extensive cultivation for the sake of its edible fruit.
It has run wild, particularly near and old inhabited sites,
in several parts of central and western India and in the Deccan
Peninsula. This species yields high value delicious and
nutritive fruit which is much relished for its flavour and tasty
custard available within. This
fruit is a major NTFP product in the drier tracts fetching substantial
revenues to the VSSs. Some
of the VSSs earn a couple of lakhs of rupees from the sale of
this fruit. In addition
the VSS members and their families enjoy consumption of this fruit
for its nutritive values.
Over the years, our experiences has
been that the production of the fruit in the forests is slowly
dwindling due to improper management of the forests and the prevailing
drought conditions recurring year after year.
Because of the poor soil moisture conditions prevailing
the fruits often do not attain big size resulting in reduction
in the sale and nutritive value of the fruit. During acute drought years the trees although
throw a number of fruits, most of them end up drying on the branches
Whereas the department is encouraging
plantations of custard apple in large areas with improved high
yielding varieties with short gestation grafted seedlings, hardly
anything is done to improve the health of the naturally existing
trees in the forests to improve the production and quality of
It is a matter of common knowledge
that custard apple trees growing in depressions, along the nalas
and along the farmers’ field bunds with good moisture conditions
grow greener, richer and yield more fruit in comparision to the
trees that look unhealthy, etiolated with yellow leaves growing
in areas under moisture stress conditions.
Under the APCFM project under the treatment
components “Improvement of degraded forests”, “Rehabilitation
of degraded non-teak Miscellaneous hardwood forests”, in which
forests the custard apple trees occur predominantly, there is
a provision for Silvicultural prescriptions for promotion of desirable
NTFPs with adoption of suitable Silvicultural practices and soil
cultivation. With slight
Silvicultural interventions and soil working to these custard
apple trees, the production and quality of the fruits in the VSS
areas can be considerably enhanced.
The possible Silvicultural interventions could be clearing
of the thorny weeds around the custard apple trees to avoid congestion
and competition from these weeds.
Formation of a deep semi lunar trench
at the bases of the plants by digging the soil may be a foot deep
and a foot wide and heaping the soil so obtained at the base of
the stems will help improving the soil moisture regime.
Where the trees grow on slopes, semi lunar trench may be
formed on the lower slopes for the water accumulation during rains
which improves the soil moisture regime.
Application of manure preferably vermin compost will improve
the fertility of the soil. These operations will boost up production of
quality fruits with bigger eyes and copious custard within the
fruits. The increased production and quality of fruits
will increase the revenue of the VSSs.
Further, the villagers and their children also improve
their health due to the consumption of more nutritive fruits.
I am sure you will appreciate the need
to tend these naturally growing custard apple trees, improve the
productivity of the degraded forests, and increases the income
levels of the VSSs thus ameliorating living conditions of the
This operation may go as one of the
FSR items, so that the field officers do not loose sight of this
important operation in forest treatment.
Sd/- S.K. Das,
Chief Conservator of Forests.
All the Conservator
Copy to all the Divisional
// t.c.b.o. //