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Hebbevu originates from the Meliaceae family and is an indigenous species of tree to India, South East Asia and Australia, where it has been cultivated as a source of softwood.
Today the agro industry and agriculture sector is passing through difficult times due to ever increasing input costs, non availability of labor, soil degradation and climate change issues. The land values are increased and income from agriculture is reduced due to various unfavorable conditions resulting in that the farmers are selling away their lands, shifting in to other fields and migrating to urban habitations. Since many of the short term crops are risky, less remunerative and uncertain, it is time to cultivate medium to long term agro forestry crops like Melia Dubia, Sandalwood, Red Sanders, etc. which are cost effective also guaranteed better revenue.
The agro forestry is one of the rapid increasing sector provide excellent income and the agro forestry is the best option and solution for the above said problem. Hebbevu (Malabar Neem) is a promising tree highly suitable for farm forestry and agro forestry for generating higher income in the semi-arid regions. Agro-forestry is a sustainable land management system which increases the overall yield of the lands. The agro forestry crops can be done along with the agricultural crops and livestock on the same land either simultaneously or sequentially.
The majority of the world's wood supply is sourced from native forests, which are not sustainably managed. Even though large areas of plantations have been established in many countries, the rate of planting has been insufficient to meet current and projected future demand. As the present scenario the Timber Demand in India is at very high hence, the need of commercial agro forestry is ever increasing. Hebbevu is one of the fastest growing species among timber varieties on this planet.
Melia Dubia is a promising tree highly suitable for agro forestry or farm forestry with a life cycle of 8 to 12 years is gaining economic importance both in domestic and global markets. It is getting popularized among farmers due to its characteristics such as fast growth, stem straightness without much of branches, less shade effect and for not susceptible to pest and insect attacks.
The seedlings production is very difficult because its germination percentage is as low as 10%. Hebbevu is a large tree, attaining a height of 20 meters with a spreading crown and a cylindrical straight trunk of 9 meters length X 1.5-2.5 m. girth. About 400trees can be planted in an acre which fetches Rs. 35 - 40 lakhs in 8 – 10 years’ time.
This also can be successfully grown in dry regions with supplemental irrigation. The rooted saplings are planted onset of the monsoon or during the monsoon. It has the unique feature of growing up to 20 feet within two years from the date of planting and can be mechanically pruned and harvested. It grows well with proper irrigation facility even in lower rainfall areas with an average growth of approximate 1.5 Cu.ft per year per tree.