Botanical name of Tamarind is Tamarindus indica.
Tamarind is a tree of semi-arid tropical conditions, its native being Tropical Africa and Indian subcontinent. Major tamarind production centers in India are Bihar, Orissa, parts of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Semi-arid tropical climate is best for the commercial cultivation of tamarind. Tamarind can be grown in any areas where the temperature reaches 46°C maximum and 0°C minimum. Average rainfall requirement is 500–1,500mm. The optimum altitude required for tamarind cultivation is 1,000m above MSL (mean sea-level).
Tamarind can be grown in all types of soils provided that proper drainage is there. However, tamarind plants grow well in deep loamy or alluvial soils. Tamarind can be grown in poor soils too but soil fertility should be replenished time to time. Tamarind plants are tolerant to saline and alkali soils.
Early variety; average yield is 263kg pods/tree; pulp content 39%.; can yield up to 26 tons of pods/ha if transplanted at a spacing of 10m × 10m.
A local variety; very long pods; sweet pulp
Seed propagation, grafting and budding are practiced for propagating tamarind plants.
Raising of Seedlings
Nursery beds are prepared and seeds are directly sown at a spacing of 20–25cm apart. Irrigation is done soon after sowing and seeds start germinating within a week. Seedlings are regularly watered until they reach four months old. Seedlings may be raised in polythene bags also.
TRANSPLANTING OF SEEDLINGS
Four month old seedlings are transplanted in the main field
GRAFTING AND BUDDING
Since true-to-type plants cannot be produced by seed propagation, grafting and budding are practiced for large scale propagation of tamarind plants. Approach grafting and Patch budding are proved to be quite successful.
Ideal time for planting tamarind seedlings in the main field is June–November. Pits of 1m × 1m × 1m size are dug in the field at a spacing of 10m × 10m. Seedlings are placed in the pit without disturbing the rootball and pit is then covered with a mixture of farmyard manure @ 15kg/pit and top soil. Regular watering is done until plants get established in the field.
Seedling plants start yielding in 8–10 years after planting. Grafts and budded plants start yielding in 4–5 years after planting. Harvesting is done during January–April. Average yield is 26 tons of pods/ha.
Uses and Benefits of Tamarind
Tamarind fruit pulp is rich in antioxidants and hence helps fight against cancer. Tamarind is rich in Vitamin C and hence protects against Vitamin C deficiency. Pulp has several medicinal properties also. It is used as a carminative and laxative and when given as infusion treats bile disorders and febrile conditions. Tamarind has anti-scorbatic properties and hence can be used as a substitute for lemon juice. Tamarind fruit pulp which is sweetish and acidic in taste is used for serving curries, chutneys, sauces and soups. Tamarind is an essential ingredient in many south Indian food preparations such as tamarind rice, sambar, rasam and tamarind chutney. Tamarind kernel powder (TKP) is used as a sizing material in textile and leather industry. Jellose, a polysaccharide present in TKP forms a gel with sugar concentrate which may be used as a substitute for fruit pectin. Tender leaves, flowers and young seedlings of tamarind are consumed as a vegetable. Tamarind pulp is used for making candies and jellies.