Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Amberella plucking – a great way to shake a tree and rain 200kg of fruit - (spondias dulcis)

There was this tree in my sister’s property loaded with Amberella, and even thought the fruit is smaller than on my trees, there were distinctly a huge amount. I would like to know if this is a budded tree that has got so big, as I don’t have budded varieties on my property, and the trees grow very tall, but here the branching seems to have happened from the bottom.


We determined the easiest way to pluck this was to shake the branches once we climbed the tree and it rained down on us. A few shakes later, the time it took to collect this lot was greater, whereas we should have laid a tarp on the ground and let it all fall into it to be bagged.

We cleaned half the fruit of the tree and got 200kg of fruit. While I retail my fruit on home delivery at Rs80/kg, what we I get at the wholesale market is another matter. The fruit once plucked cannot be kept for more than a week, and so has to be disposed off immediately. I am likely to get between Rs20 and Rs25 per kg, while if the fruit was a little larger a further Rs5kg would have been a likely price.

In the next door property, Gamini the neighbor told me that last week, he had collected 9 sacks of this fruit with still more left on the tree, and took it to the Dambulla wholesale market where he received Rs14,000. It is therefore possible that on the two fruiting seasons of a large Amberella Tree at its peak, one is able to harvest Rs30,000 of fruit on a wholesale basis. There is no care required, just the work in harvesting the fruit, and that only is just to shake and pick up!

I would not recommend anyone to grow a bud tree that fruits early, but the fruit is small, and hence my suspicion this may have been a budded tree that just grew and grew. The traditional tree grows 40 to 60f tall, but the wood is not worth anything. The fruit of the traditional tree is also about twice the size of the budded tree and fetches a higher price and the tree also yields a lot more fruit.

If only I could have made Amberella Chutney with this, I could have bottled and sold it over the months, but in the current state of the enterprise, I don’t have the expertise and time to do so. The tree grows quickly, but does not have an infinite life, with many dying after about 10 years. It is one fruit I think that probably yields pound for pound of tree weight more than any tree I can think of.

The various pics are of the fruit, tree, and the plucking and collecting process to interest the reader of the possible and normal. Thankfully this one crop was saved from theft.


yakayaka said...

i think it might be a bud tree because had one in my garden that we've since cut down. but it was also very fruitful and the branches started from very low

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Rajaratarala said...

as a postscript, I was only able to sell the Amberella at Rs10kg in the Meegoda Economic zone, while the retail price at the same place was Rs40/500g. Added to that mine was the only Amberella there.
This 8 to 1 price difference is the reason for the farmer's frustration with the system, and no amount of economic zones is going to help his cause, only a web based transparent pricing formula for for various grades of produce will then give knowledge of when to pluck and where to sell.

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