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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Pongamia is a genus of legume in the Fabaceae family.
  • It is a hardy blighter and grows well in wet, dry and saline soils.
  • It travels under a number of names and is also called Indian Beech, Pongam, Honge, Ponge, and Karanj.
  • Pongamia seeds contain 30-40% oil.

Growth & Processing

  • Pongamia can grow on most soil types ranging from stony to sandy to clayey.
  • Pongamia is often planted in homesteads as a shade or ornamental tree and in avenue plantings along roadsides and canals.
  • Pongamia is easily established by direct seeding or by planting nursery-raised seedlings or stump cuttings of 1-2 cm root-collar diameter.
  • Fruits setting of Pongamia starts from fifth year onwards of plantation.
  • Commercial productions of seeds start from 10 years onwards of plantation and a full-grown tree may yields up to100 kg. or even more fresh seeds per annum up to 60-70 years.

  • Pongamia is extracted from the Karanja Tree in India.

Uses

  • Pongamia is a drought resistant, nitrogen fixing leguminous tree. It is also salt tolerant and to some extent tolerant to slight frost.
  • The shade provided by Pongamia tree is said to have cooling effect and is good for health.
  • The oil from Pongamia seeds are perfectly suited for the production of biodiesel.

Market

  • Pongamia pinnata has been found to be one of the most suitable species in India being widely grown.

  • Indigenous production of Pongamia oil could save foreign exchange worth of several million dollars and also generate employment opportunities in rural areas.

  • The money (Rs30,000) from World Bank was invested in expanding the pongamia nursery (with 20,000 sapling-capacity).
  • Aside from foreign exchange savings potential, rural employment is a top consideration in planting pongamia in a country like India that is world’s sixth largest energy consumer at 3.5 percent of total or particularly 50 million metric tons for diesel.

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