Aonla is also known as Indian Gooseberry and has Scientific name as Embelica officinalis andbelongs to the family euphorbiaceae, has a high medicinal value.The fruits have the richest source of vitamin C(700mg in 100gm of fruits).It is a highly prolific bearer without much care .Though there are many hybrids available but to name a few are
Banarasi,Chakaiya,Kanchan,francis,krishna,NA6,7,8,9 are found to give good production.It is also considered to be an excellent liver tonic.Ayurvedic medicines like Chyavanprash,Triphalahurna,Brahma rasayan and Madhumehga churna contains essentially Aonla as their ingredients.The Fruit is valued as an antiscorbatic,diuretic ,laxative,antiboitic and anti dysentric.Phyllemblin,obtained from the fruit pulp has been found to have a mild depressant action on central nervous system.It has very good demand for the industries for the preparation of various health care products also like hair oils,dye,shampoo,face creams and tooth powders.
Soil and Land Preparation
Light as well as medium heavy soils except purely sandy soils is ideal for aonla cultivation.The tree is well adopted to dry regions and can also be grown in moderate alkaline soils.The worst of soils upto 9.5pHare also good enough to grow amla.Soils with red ,black with wide range of pH can very well accomodate aonla.Prior to planting ,the fields should be deeply ploughed,harrowed and leveled.The pits above 1metre cube should be dug during the month of May-June at appropriate distance and after 15-20 days of exposure to sun are filled with surface soils mixed with 10 to 15 kg of decomposed farm yard manure.If depression takes place in the pits with onset of rain,more soil should be added.
Aonla plants can be grown in both Tropical and subtropical climates.Annual rainfall of 630mm-80mm is ideal for its growth.The young plants up to the age of 3years should be protected from hot wind during May -June and from frost during winter months.The mature plants can tolerate freezing temperatures as well as a high temperatures up to 46 degree Centigrade .
The varieties of aonla recommended for cultivation are Banarasi,chakaiya,francis,NA-4(Krishna)NA-5(kanchan),NA-6,NA-7,NA-10,BSR-1,Anand 1,2,3
Number of seedlings for one acre of area should be 200.The field should be Incorporated with 4 tonnes of Farm yard manure.Fertilizers should be given in the ratio of 90:120:48 of NPK along with elemental sulphur 10 kg and micro nutrients 10 kg per acre .15 kg of FYM and 0.5kg of phosphorus should be applied to each pit before planting.Also application of 30 gram of nitrogen each year during September -October up to 10 years for each tree is recommended.
The young plants should be given 15-20kg of well rotten FYM and the mature trees should be fertilized with 1 kg of Super Phosphate and 1-1.5kg of murate of potash.The above fertilizers should be given in two split doses to mature,bearing tree,once during September-October and gain during April-May.After setting of the fruits the plants needs to be irrigated after fertilizer application.
Aonla is generally propagated by shield budding.Budding is done on one year old seedlings with buds collected from superior varieties yielding big sized fruits.Older trees or poor yielders can be changed into superior types by top working.Aonla plant has long been raised from seed and used as rootstock.The seeds attain full maturity by February for which they should be sown in the last week also for getting the higher percentage of germination.The best results were obtained by sowing at the commencement of rainy season and subsequently weeding regularly.Artificial Propagation can also be done by the ripe fruits collected in January and dried in sun dehisce and are swept up and cleaned by winnowing.It is desirable to use fresh seed as the seeds do not retain viability for long.The seeds need hot water treatment(80 degree Celsius) for 5 minutes to hasten germination which takes about 10 days.
The pits of 1 sq.mt are to be dug during May -June at a distance of 4.5mt x 4.5mt spacing and should be left for 15-20 days exposing to sunlight .Each pit should be filled with surface soil mixed with 15 kg FYM and 0.5 kg of phosphorus before planting the budded seedlings.Healthy grafts or budded plants are planted during rainy season preferably during the early monsoon in July with square system .
Young plants require watering during summer months at 15 days interval till they are fully established.Watering of bearing plants is advised during summer months at bi weekly interval.After the monsoon rains ,during October-December about 25-30 litres of water per day per tree through drip irrigation should be given.
The schedule can also be done as follows
Plants up to 2 years of age -at 10 days interval
Plants up to 4 years of age -at 15 days interval.
Plants after 4 years of age -at 20 days interval.
Training and Pruning
Leaving only 4-5 well shaped branches with wide angle at about 0.75mt from the ground level,other dead,diseased,week criss cross branches and suckers should be pruned off at the end of December .
Mulching and Intercropping
During summer, the crop should be mulched with paddy straw or wheat straw at the base of the tree upto 15-20 cm from the trunk. Inter crops like green gram, black gram, cow pea and horse gram can be grown upto 8 years.
Major insects which affect the aonla plants are Bark eating caterpillars which can be controlled by following methods
1. Injection of Endosulfan at the ratio of 2ml in 1 litres of water or Monocrotophos 2ml in 1 litre of water or dichlorovos in the ratio of 1.5ml in 1 litre of water in holes and plugging with mud is effective in protecting the tree against bark eating caterpiller.
2. Spraying of Mancozeb in the proportion of 3gm per litre of water twice first in early September and second 15 days after first application controls the spread of rust.
3. Aonla rust can be controlled by spraying blue copper 3 gm per litre of water or combination of Carbendazim and Mancozeb (readilly available in the market)in the ratio of 2gm per litre of water .
The seedling or vegetative saplings of Aonla require clean weeding, soil working for about two years for successful establishment and fast growth.This can be very well done by spraying glyphosate in the proportion of 6.5ml in 1 litre of water on the weeds grown upto the height of 6-8 inches.
Precaution should be taken that no directed spray should be on the seedlings or the plants which are grown.
Harvesting and Yield
Aonla tree starts bearing after about 4-5 years of planting.The fruits of Aonla are harvested during the month of february when they become dull greenish yellow from light green colour.The mature fruits are ahrd and they do not fall at gentle touch and therefore vigorous shaking is required.Fruits can also be harvested using long bamboo poles attached with hooks.
A mature Aonla tree of about 10 years will yield 50-70 kg of fruit. The average weight of the fruit is 60-70 g and 1 kg contains about 15-20 fruits.
A well maintained Aonla tree yields up to an age of 70 years.A full grown grafted aonla tree with good bearing habit yields from 187 to 299 kg fruit per year. Average fruit yield is 200kg per grafted tree.
The demand of aonla fruit by various commercial pharmaceutical companies has taken an upward swing and there is enough incentive for tribals to collect the fruit. The average price offered for green fruits is Rs3 to 4 per kg. Panna aonla is famous for its bold size and absence of fibres
Aonla existed by way of Kayakalp in our country for more than 3000 years ago. We should rediscover the goodness of amla especially at a time when people are turning away from alopathy due to various side-effects. India's present production is around 1.5 lakh tonnes. If by spreading awareness, we can get every Indian to eat one amla a day, we will require2 lakh tones a day. So we can produce300 times the quantity of Aonla we are producing now.