Acai palms are both a cash crop and a food crop. Their fruits consist of small blue berries that grow in bunches and can be consumed either raw or processed. The berries are used to make a number of different food items of commercial importance such as jams, jellies, marmalades and butters. Available butter is a substitute for daily butter and is very popular as a vegan product. It is know for it’s rich protein component. They are also rich in potassium and are used in places where it hard to procure bananas and other foods rich in minerals.
Cultivating acai palms on a large scale presents manager challenges. The challenges involved are legal, commercial and environmental. These deter cultivators and farms from taking up acai as a crop to be grown on a commercial basis. Acai needs a lot of water as they naturally occurring in rainforests that receive a lot of rainfall. They soaked up a lot of ground water and in places there the water levels are already low, acai palms can cause severe droughts. Acai palm takes five to ten years to be commercially viable. Acai palms used for timber take about six or seven years to mature. The fruit bearing varitires take longer and mature at eight to ten years of age. Fruit bearing acai palms need more nutrition.
The soils needs to have a pH of around 7.5-8 for acai palms to grow successfully. Contrary to most other plants, acai palms thrive in environments with alkaline soils. This has lead them to being resilient in environments that would be inhospitable for most domestic plants. The alkaline content of the soil can be changed artificially. This is done by adding fertilizers rich in ammonia to the soil. Ammonia mixes with water to form an alkaline solution and this helps the acai palms to grow better. Nitrogenous fertilizers such as urea are very beneficial for these palms.
Cultivators should also be aware of the laws and regulations governing the growth and sale of acai in Gold coast and the products that are derived from it. Most governments have banned the production or sale of acai plants as they are considered an environmental hazard. They are classified as an invasive plant that poses threats to indigenous flora and fauna. However, this reputation is undeserved and most acai plants are docile and pose no threats to local plants and animals. A wide variety of animals can use the canopies of acai plants as their homes and breeding grounds. It is advisable to look up local laws when starting the cultivation of acai plants. Legal advise is readily available in most countries and an experienced lawyer should be consulted. It is better to be proactive in this regard. Being aware of the local laws can prevent significant fines and penalties.