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Elephant Foot Yam scientifically known as Amorphophallus paeoniifolius belongs to the family aroid or Araceae. It is a tropical tuberous plant with a dark brown inflorescence.
Edible tubers is the main reason for the vast cultivation of Elephant Yam. For centuries, it has been cultivated throughout the tropical Asia. Elephant Yam, which is an important source of carbohydrate for common people in India and Indonesia is used as a secondary crop throughout tropical Asia.
Many native ayurvedic and unani medicinal provisions are made from the tuber of the crop. These tubers are considered to have pain-killing, anti-inflammatory, anti-flatulence, digestive, aphrodisiac, rejuvenating and tonic properties.
Elephant yams are traditionally used to treat arthralgia, elephantiasis, tumors, inflammations, hemorrhoids, hemorrhages, vomiting, bronchitis, dysmenorrhea, asthma, dyspepsia, colic, constipation, cough, hepato-splenopathies, amenorrhea, seminal weakness, fatigue, and general debility.
About 25-35 degree Celsius is the perfect growing temperature for Elephant Foot Yam. Humid climate is a must to accelerate initial crop growth whereas dry climate facilitates tuber bulking. Abundant rainfall is best for good tuber growth and yield.
Elephant foot yam matures in about 6-7 months as it is a long duration crop. In India, under irrigated conditions, the crop is planted in mid-March and harvested during mid-November whereas under rain-fed conditions, the crop should be planted in the last week of June just before the onset of monsoon. Harvesting starts depending on the market after 5 to 6 months.
Gajendra is the popular variety in India for commercial cultivation, which is found in Kovvur area of Andhra Pradesh. It has a yield of about 50-60 tons per hectares.
The suitable cultivable variety for southern states is Sree Padma. This variety was developed at Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, Trivandrum and it has a yield potential of 40 tonnes/ha.
Elephant foot yam is popularly known as Oal in Bengali, Suran in Hindi and Marathi, Chenai Kizhangu in Tamil, Chena in Malayalam, Kanda Gadda in Telugu.
Elephant foot yam producing states in India are Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Elephant foot yam has great export prospective for a country like India as the crop is not commercially cultivated in other countries.