Umapathy Farms – Sugar and honey made from coconut sap

Sugar, syrup and honey made from coconut sap using icebox technology

Umapathy Farms is a family owned business set up by Mr. S.Umapathy in 1983. Farm has two divisions, horticulture and poultry. Horticulture division is focused on coconut hybridization and lemon plantation. Farm is located on Pollachi Road, Palladam, Tamil Nadu.

Initially it was a small farm with only 200 coconut trees but today spreads in more than 75 acres. “Passion and right guidance from industry professionals is the key behind the success,” says Mr. N.U. Raam Mohan, son of Mr. Umapathy. He also heads the marketing and strategy division. “At the time of expansion of coconut farm in 2004 we wanted our coconut trees to be high yield, high quantity of tender coconut, sweet tender coconut, copra content, but the main point of consideration was that the tree should have an early yield in spite of growing slowly. We got the solution with Ramganga variety,” he shares, “We combined the female dwarf tree with the male from the tall tree to get a hybrid coconut seedling (D*T). The yield is high and produced coconut is used as copra as well as tender coconut.”

Coconut Sugar

Tender coconut is sold on an average at Rs. 16/piece. 20% of farm produced coconut is sold as copra and tender coconuts. Rest 80% is used for coconut hybridization and for producing value added products namely coconut sugar, syrup and honey.

When asked the drive behind getting into value addition of coconut based products Mr. Raam says, “We came to know about a new technology developed by CPCRI to produce coconut sugar naturally without any preservatives. So we approached them for the same. Over period of time we have developed our own model using our trails to produce coconut based value added products successfully since 2014.”

Umapathy Farms uses ‘icebox technology’ to collect the coconut sap instead of traditional methods. Explaining the difference Mr. Raam says, “In traditional method people use mud pot to collect the coconut sap. They apply lime in the mud pot so that the coconut sap doesn’t get fermented. It leads to impurities and insects breeding while collecting the sap in the morning. On the contrary in icebox technology we use sealed container referred as ice box. No anti fermenting solutions are added. Insect breeding and contaminations are restricted. This enables us to collect the 100% natural sap from coconut tree. The sap is used as raw material for producing sugar, honey and syrup.”

The value added procedure is same in the beginning but it later changes with respect to the product. “The first half of the production procedure is same for all three products. The second half varies accordingly but the technology used for all three is the same,” he adds.

Coconut sugar is claimed to be a complete 1:1 replacement for sugarcane based sugar. It has a caramel flavour to it. It tastes very different from sugars available in the market. “Our coconut sugar is produced without any preservatives and additives. It is 100% natural. The difference between our sugar and the sugars available in the market is that the raw material we use for making coconut sugar is collected in controlled and protected condition, it is insect and dust free, which is not the case in most of plam sugars currently available in the market,” informs Mr. Raam.

“Coconut sugar is the only product which is ready for sale and we have started marketing it in organic shops. Soon it will be available in metro cities,” he adds. All the products are tested at various stages as per the food processing protocols. Commercial sale of coconut sugar is expected to take place mostly before March 2015. It shall be sold under the brand name Farm Made Naturals.

Farm Made Food, brand name for coconut based value added products produced and sold by Umapathy Farms

Poultry is another vertical of the farm. Mr. Umapathy took up poultry farming in 1983 because of the favourable climatic conditions required for the birds. He started with1000 birds, “Currently we have around 1.5 lack layer birds, with a daily production of 90,000 white eggs/day,” he adds. The poultry farm unit is semi automated where feeding systems are completely automatic but eggs are collected manually. 52% of eggs are sold locally in Palladam and Tirupur while rest in Kerala. Eggs are packed and transported in standard egg collection trays. “Our selling price per egg varies between Rs.2.95-3.80, depending on the market,” shares Mr. Raam.

Lemon plantation is spread over 30 acres. “We predicted increase in demand of lemon hence started with lemon plantation. In addition lemon tree requires very less water,” he informs. Annual produce varies a lot due to change in climatic condition. Lemon is sold at, “Approximately Rs. 60/kg,” he shares.

Mr. Raam Mohan did his BE (Mechanical) in India and for masters, MSc (Management with Enterprise and Business Growth) he studied at University of Glasgow, UK. He says, “Both my degrees help me to understand the importance of quality and quantity making it easy to interpret complex business. My passion is to work in agriculture sector, so I try to combine all these to best of my advantage.”

Contact details-
Umapathy Farms
Pollachi Road, Nasuvanpalayam, Venkitapuram (PO), Palladam, Tirupur – 641664, Tamil Nadu
Phone: (04255) 252166, +91 9715370707
Email: farmmadefoods@gmail.com, umapathyfarms@gmail.com
Website: http://umapathyfarms.com/

M. Murali talks on Hybrid Coconut

Develops and supplies hybrid coconut plants at Madurai, Tamil Nadu

muraliMr. M. Murali, Chief Executive at Deejay Group is associated with the group for over 20 years. He brought in huge strengths in professional and highly effective management, finance and administration. Deejay Farms is producing commercial coconut seedlings since 30 years. Company’s breeding activities are going on in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Goa. Presently, about 4 lakhs seedlings are produced in southern states of India.

The commercial coconut seedlings are produced from selective genetic breeding material, developed over many years. Hence, it ensures offering right quality to the buyers. The coconut hybrids shall give 250 coconuts per tree per year leading to annual production of 1 to 17,000 coconuts per acre. If used as tender coconut, it gives approximately 500 ml of water while if kept for copra it gives 200 nuts per tree which means about 3 ½ tonnes per acre and it gives about 60% of oil.  Coconut plantation needs right management to become profitable concern. Warm and humid especially if near the sea are ideal for the healthy growth of the plant. Light and warmth play vital role in its growth and productivity.  The Excerpts:

In one acre how many trees can be planted?
Since there should be 25 feet/25feet spacing it is recommended to grow 70 trees per acre.

What are the pre-planting preparations needed for coconut?
It starts with pit marking to arrange the coconut palms in rows in right alignment to offer best use of the land and exposure to sunlight. It should then be followed by refilling the pit with green manure, vermicompost, sediment of tank silt, red soil, sand and bio-fertilizer as needed for plant growth. It shall facilitate root formation, good aeration and good nutrient absorption.

What is the duration of post plant management?
It is a 24 months program for post plant management. The complete details on this schedule is available at ‘Coconut Cultivator’s Guide’ at the website – http://deejayfarm.com/

What are guidelines for putting manure?
As the age of the tree increases farmers need to increase the quantity of the inputs. Preparing the field from the ground level with the help of manure and feeding the plants with panchagavya and natural herbals are beneficial. For example, some farmers in Tamil Nadu have opted for organic farming and their coconut trees are only 4-5 years old but they have started yielding perfectly as the normal trees.
However, irrespective of whether using organic farming or chemical farming the balance of input must be maintained.

What is the best intercrop recommended?
In today’s scenario, Cocoa is the best inter-crop and many farmers are planting the same. It has value for the soil and also it gives good profit. Cocoa and Nutmeg are ideal for inter-cropping. This inter-cropping should be done after 3 years because first the coconut tree should be allowed to grow well and after that inter-cropping can be done in the gaps between two trees. So the shade of the cocoa tree helps to prevent the soil heating, and consequently both cocoa and coconut grow well.

Should intercropping in the first three years of coconut plantation be completely avoided?
No, farmers can do inter-cropping for first 3 years also but plant crops like legumes that should be smaller in size.

What are the advantages of using hybrid plants?
The main advantage of hybrid plants is that they start flowering from the second year, by third year all the trees will come to flowering stage and from the fourth year all the trees will start to give the yield.

What kinds of diseases affect the coconut trees and what precaution could be taken?
There are many diseases found in coconut trees in different parts of South India. In Kerala, there is Root Wilt disease while in Karnataka the tree suffers from Shoot disease. Rhino beetle problem is also commonly found in coconut trees all over and it can be solved through care with proper management.

What will be the life span of hybrid coconut tree?
The life span of any coconut tree, not only hybrid, is 50-60 80 years and as hybrid plants give higher returns farmers can reap benefits till 25 30 years. Later than that, it is best to replace the product which shall mean loss of one year’s income. Further, it is an established fact that as the coconut trees grow old their productivity will decrease gradually.

How many people are needed to manage five acres of coconut plantation?
With drip system available, two people are enough to manage five acres.

What are the returns on investment of coconut hybrid plants?
By selling the tender coconut at an average price of Rs 10-12 per coconut, farmers can earn more than Rs 2000 per tree per year which means farmers can get Rs. 1-1.5 lakhs minimum income.

Complete presentation available at – http://bit.ly/18R9u5l

Our Correspondent

Contact Details:
Farm: Deejay Consultancy Services,
Nagatheertham, Kodimangalam (Post), Madurai 625010 Phone : 04543 293785 / 6
Head Office: Deejay Group,
3rd Floor, St.Patrick’s Complex, Brigade Road, Bangalore 560 025
Phone : 080 25583647, 25596907
Website – http://deejayfarm.com/

Source : Agriculture & Industry Survey