Agar (Aquilaria malaccensis Lam.): a promising crop in the homegardens of Upper Assam, northeastern India

Purabi Saikia, M.L. Khan

Abstract




One hundred and thirty five randomly selected homegardens were surveyed in the Golaghat and Jorhat districts of Upper Assam to assess the economic prospects of agar (Aquilaria malaccensis Lam.) cultivation and the socioeconomic background of the growers. Almost 50% of the households had agriculture as the main vocation and all households practiced homegardening, despite variability in garden size based on socioeconomic factors. Homegarden products including agar and tea contributed to 1 to 45% (mean 14% ±1.15) of the total annual income of the family. Returns from agar to an individual family ranged from Rs 3,000 (US$ 60: from 10 trees after 10 years) to 9,00,000 (US$ 18,000: from 500 trees after 20 years) with an average of Rs 1,14,393 (US$ 2,288: from 106 trees after 13 years). Low input needs and flexibility in site requirements as well as suitability for intercropping make agar a preferred cash crop in the homegardens of Upper Assam.


Keywords


Economic returns; Agar oil; Socioeconomic status

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A KAU publication [CODEN: JTAGEI; ISSN 0971-636X; eISSN 0973-5399]