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Plantation / Horticulture Cardamon

1. Introduction Cardamom(Elettariacardamomum Maton) popularly known as 'Queen of Spices', belongs to the family Zingiberaceae. Cardamom is indigenous to the evergreen forests of Western Ghats in South India and Sri Lanka. The seeds have a pleasant aroma and is slightly pungent in taste. Cardamom is used mainly for culinary purposes and in confectionery. To a certain extent, it is also used in allopathic and ayurvedic systems of medicine. 2. Distribution In India, cardamom is cultivated in an area of 74,826 ha and the production is to the tune of 12561 t of dried cardamom. Among the states, Kerala accounts for 55 per cent of the area (41387 ha) and 77% of the production (9785 t); Karnataka accounts for 36% area (27173 ha) and 14% of the production (1780 t) The rest comes from Tamilnadu with 6266 ha and a production of 1000 t. 3. Package of Practices 3.1 Climate Cardamom thrives well in areas having warm humid climate and fairly well distributed annual rainfall (1500 - 4000 mm). A temperature range of 180- 280C and an altitude of 600-1200 m above MSL is ideal. The crop requires 4060% shade for proper growth and flowering. Being a surface feeder, availability of moisture during the dry period is essential. 3.2 Soil Cardamom requires loamy soil, which is acidic (pH range of 4.2 to 6.8), rich in humus and nitrogen and with low to medium available phosphorus and potassium. The soil should be well drained as the crop cannot tolerate water

logging. 3.3 Varieties There are three distinct botanical varieties of cardamom, namely, Malabar, Mysore and Vazhukka. Malabar, which is a dwarf variety (2 to 3 m) bearing prostrate panicle with round/oblong capsules is suitable for lower elevation (600900 m) and is recommended for Karnataka. Mysore, which is a robust variety (3 to 5 m) bearing erect panicle with bold/elongated capsules is suited for higher elevation (900-1200 m) and is recommended for Kerala. Vazhukka is a robust variety (3 to 5 m), bearing semi erect panicles with round/oblong capsules is suited for higher elevation (9001200 m) and is recommended for Keralaand Tamilnadu. The Cultivars released for different regionsare given below : Cultivar Salient features Area of adaptability Source Yield potential (Kg/ha) 656

ICRI-1 (Malabar)

An early maturing profusely flowering South Idukki of Kerala, ICRI(Spices Board) variety, medium sized panicle with where the rainfall is well Myladumpara, Idukki, globose extra bold dark green coloured distributed Kerala 685 553 capsules ICRI-2 Performs well under irrigated Vandanmedu and -do(Mysore) conditions. Suitable for higher altitude. Nelliampathy in Kerala & It has medium long panicles oblong Anamalai and bold and parrot green capsules. Meghamalai in Tamil Tolerant to azhukal disease. Nadu ICRI-3 Early maturing type, non-pubescent Karnataka Regional Station : (ICRI) (Malabar) leaves, oblong bold, parrot green (Spices Board) Saklespur, capsules. It is tolerant to rhizome rot Karnataka - 573 134 disease. TDK-4 An early maturing variety adaptable to Adapted to lower Pulney Regional Station ICRI (Malabar) low rainfall area. Medium size panicle, hills of Tamil Nadu. (Spices Board) globose bold parrot green capsules. Suitable for low rainfall Thadiankudisai Tamil Non pubescent leaves. areas (1500 mm). Nadu - 624 212 TDK-11 An early maturing variety, long panicle, -do-do(Malabar) oblong bold and parrot green capsules PV-1 An early maturing variety with slightly All Cardamom growing Cardamom Res. Station, (Malabar) ribbed light green capsules. Short tracts in Kerala and parts Kerala Agri. University, panicle, close racemes, narrowly of Tamil Nadu Pampadumpara, Kerala ellipsoid to elongate capsules. 685 556 CCS-1 An early maturing variety suitable for All cardamom growing Indian Institute of Spices (Malabar) high density planting, long panicle, tracts of Karnataka and Research, Regional oblong bold, parrot green capsules Wynad of Kerala Centre (ICAR) Appangala, Karnataka 571 201 Mudigere-1 Compact plant, suitable for high Malnad areas of Regional Res. Station, (Malabar) density planting. tolerant to hairy Karnataka University of Agri. caterpillars and white grubs. Short Sciences, Mudigere, panicle, oval bold, pale green Karnataka 577 132 capsules. Tolerant to thrips and shoot borer, pubescent leaves NCC-200 Non pubescent, semi erect, globose Suitable to Kerala tracts Private nurseries in Idukki (Njallani) extra bold and dark green capsules district, Kerala (Vazhukka) MCC-12 Semi-erect panicles and dark deep Suitable to sparse shade ICRI, Spices Board, (Vazhukka) green, oblong capsules. conditions of Kerala Myladumpara, Idukki - 685 553 MCC-16 Profusely branched compound and Adaptable to -do(Vazhukka) semi-erect panicle. Globose green Kadamkuzhy and capsules recommended for irrigated or Udumbanchola zones of swampy areas. Kerala




890 500





MCC-40 An early bearing variety, globose bold Suitable to all cardamom -do(Vazhukka) and green capsules growing tracts of Kerala 3.4 Propagation

443 (Rainfed)

In commercial plantations, suckers are the main source of planting material. However, seed propagation is also followed in selection process and initial mass multiplication. The various stages of nursery development are given below: 3.4.1 Seed propagation Nursery Bed Preparation Areas with gentle slope, preferably near to a water source are ideal for nursery development. Clean the area from all existing vegetation, stumps, roots, stones etc. and prepare beds of one metre width, 30 cm height and convenient length. Jungle top soil can be spread to a thickness of 2 to 3 cm on the beds. Fumigate the beds with methyl bromide 45 g per bed or with 2% formalin, (10 litres per bed) which will help in eliminating the diseases, nematodes and other soil pests. The beds should be made air tight by covering with polythene sheets and the fumigant is allowed to penetrate into the soil for two or three days. Later the treated beds should be kept open for another week before taking up sowing. Seed collection and treatment Fully ripened bold capsules from high yielding and disease-free mother clumps of known source can be collected from second and third harvests for seed extraction. Seeds after extraction should be washed using water to remove the mucilage, mixed with wood ash, dried in shade and sown immediately. Sowing in September is ideal for good germination. Winter season and south west monsoon should be avoided. Cardamom is having a hard seed coat which will prevent good germination. Scarification with 2.5% nitric acid will aid in improving the germination. This is done by placing the seeds in a glass jar and keeping the jar in cold water. Then slowly pour the acid in the jar so as to drench the seeds, stirring gently for about two minutes. Drain the acid using a strainer. Transfer the seeds immediately to a large volume of water. Wash the seed free of acid in running water and later soak it in water and keep it overnight. The seed is ready for sowing the next day. Sowing Sow the seeds at 1- 2 cm spacing within the rows which are 10 - 15 cm apart. After sowing, cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. Then cover the bed with mulch material, either with potha grass or paddy straw. Avoid contact of mulch material with the soil by laying support twigs across the bed. Water the beds to ensure sufficient moisture. Once sprouting is observed, remove the mulch and cover the bed with thinly sliced mulch material. To protect the seedlings from direct sunlight, provide overhead pandal. Germination commences 20 to 25 days after sowing and continues upto 30 to 40 days. Secondary Nursery Secondary nursery can be raised either in beds or in polybags. a. Bed nursery Prepare the beds as in primary nursery. Spread a layer of cattle manure and wood ash on the bed and mix with soil. Seedlings of three to four leaf stage from the primary nursery beds can be transplanted in the secondary nursery at a distance of 20 to 25 cm. Mulching and watering of beds should be done immediately after transplanting. Pandal can be erected to protect seedlings from direct sunlight. b. Poly bag nursery Black HDPE bags of 20 x 20 cm size and thickness of 100 gauge with 3 to 4 holes at the bottom can be used for this purpose. Fill the bags with potting mixture in the ratio of 3 : 1 :1 jungle top soil, cow dung and sand and arrange them in rows of convenient length and breadth for easy management. Seedlings at three to four leaf stage can be transplanted into each bag (one seedling / bag). Adequate space has to be provided in between the bags for better

tillering. The advantages of raising seedling in polybags are : i. Seedlings of uniform growth and tillering can be obtained. ii. Nursery period can be reduced to five to six months after transplanting the seedlings as against 10 to 12 months in the secondary nursery. iii. Better establishment and growth of seedlings in the main field. 3.4.2 Vegetative propagation Rhizomes Vegetative propagation facilitates easy multiplication of selected types. Plants raised from rhizomes come to bear earlier than the seedlings raised from seeds by about a year. Vegetative propagation is advantageous in areas where 'Katte' disease is not a problem. When rhizomes are planted in the midst of grown up plants for infilling of vacancies, the risk of the strangling effect of surrounding plants is minimised. Suckers Propagation by suckers consists of splitting clumps into sections having one or two year old suckers with two to three new shoots. The split suckers are planted in the small hole of the filled in pit and covered with soil and mulch. Sucker planting should be avoided during periods of heavy rain. Upright planting of suckers supported by stakes without root pruning is recommended for infilling of vacancies. In wind swept areas and in replanting, rhizomes may be planted flat on the ground. 3.5 Establishment of Plantation For new planting, the ground should be cleared or if it is replanting, old plants should be removed. In sloppy areas, terraces should be made across the slopes before taking pits. Planting in trenches in terraces is recommended for better soil and moisture conservation. 3.5.1 Preparation of pit Pits of size 45x45x30 cm are taken and filled with a mixture of top soil and organic manure two months before commencement of monsoon. 3.5.2 Spacing and Plant population Spacing depends on the soil fertility, type of cultivar and type of planting material used. In Kerala more spacing is adopted than in Karnataka. Mysore and Vazhukka types are not suitable for closer spacing. Plant population will range from 1000 to 1600 in Kerala to 2500 to 4000 in Karnataka. However, for the present model a plant population of 1250 plants per hectare at a spacing of 2.8 x2.8 m is considered. 3.5.3 Planting Planting material of high yielding variety suitable for the area may be selected. Planting should be done with the commencement of South West monsoon and before heavy rains, diagonally opposite to the slope. A small mound may be formed inside the pit to cover the rhizome. The plant base should be mulched well with available dried leaves immediately after planting. 3.6 After care The various cultural practices to be followed after planting are mulching, shade regulation, weeding, trashing, earthing up, fertilizer application, irrigation and gap filling. 3.6.1 Shade and Shade regulation Partial shade is essential for cardamom in the initial stage to enhance vegetative growth and tillering. If the selected area does not have enough forest shade trees, suitable quick growing trees are to be planted. Trees having distributed branching , small leaves and not shedding leaves during summer are ideal. The common shade trees are

Red cedar (Cedrella toona ), Karuna (Vernonia arboria), Jack (Artocarpus integrifolia), Golden Shower (Cassia fistula), Vellakil (Dysoxypum malabaricum), Thepavu (Terminalia tomentosa), Thambakam (Hopea purviflora) and Balangi (Artocarpus fraxinifolius). Shade regulation is one of the important practices in cardamom cultivation. In order to provide adequate light during monsoon, shade regulation has to be taken up before onset of monsoon. SouthWestern slopes should be provided with more shade than North-Eastern slopes. Too much or too less shade is not advisable for cardamom cultivation as it affects growth and yield. Allow 50-60% filtered sunlight. 3.6.2 Forking and Mulching Forking the plant base to a distance upto 90 cm and to a depth of 9-12 cm is found to enhance root proliferation and better growth of plants. As far as possible, the entire plantation and particularly the plant base are to be kept under mulch. It is very essential to keep the plant base mulched (5-10 cm thick) except during June to September for reducing evaporation loss and to maintain optimum soil temperature. Leaves from shade trees and weeds after weeding can be used for mulching. 3.6.3 Earthing up Earthing up is not required in a normal plantation. Earthing-up is recommended wherever rhizomes and roots are exposed. Earthing-up is to be carried out during December - January. While carrying out this operation, care should be exercised to ensure that only top soil is used and it is evenly spread at the base covering only half the bulb portion of the rhizome. This operation helps to keep the top 10 to 15 cm soil loose and friable enabling easy root penetration and water percolation. 3.6.4 Weeding and trashing Manual weeding at frequent intervals is necessary in the first year of planting, followed by two or three rounds of hand weeding during May, September and December/January in the subsequent years. Use of spade for weeding is not advisable because it will loosen the soil and cause soil erosion. The weeded material may be used for mulching. Trashing consists of removal of old tillers, dry leaves and leaf sheaths. This should be carried out once in a year between February and March. 3.6.5 Irrigation Judicious irrigation during summer months ensures increase in yield by at least 50%. Irrigation is required generally from February to April but at times from January to May depending upon the rainfall. But in Tamil Nadu, where the South-West monsoon is not very effective, irrigation from March to August is advisable. This is the period during which development of young tillers and panicles take place. If plants suffer during this stage, yield will be reduced. Water may be stored during rainy season wherever possible by constructing check dams without causing much damage to the environment. This water can be used for irrigation. Irrigation can be done through different methods such as pot irrigation, hose irrigation, sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation depending on the facilities available in the plantation. Pot irrigation or hose irrigation can be done at weekly intervals at the rate of 20-30 litres per clump depending upon the clump size. In case of sprinkler, irrigation with an amount of water equivalent of 35 to 45 mm rain at fortnightly intervals is recommended under average conditions. In case of drip irrigation, water at the rate of 4-6 litres per clump per day can be given. 3.6.6 Drainage As cardamom is sensitive to high water table, under water logged conditions, drainage channels are to be prepared at an interval of 10 m and lateral drains at 4-6 m interval. 3.6.7 Manures and fertilisers Judicious application of fertiliser is essential for cardamom to achieve satisfactory return and also to reduce cost of cultivation. Organic manures are considered essential in improving the physical characteristics of the soil, in addition to their nutrient value. Application of organic manures such as Neem Cake (@1-2 kg / plant) or Poultry manure / Farmyard Manure / Cow dung Compost (@2-5 kg / plant) may be made once in a year, during May/June. The manures should be thoroughly mixed with surface soil after application.

Schedule for the use of NPK fertiliser Age of plants Rainfed areas (kg/ha) Irrigated areas (kg/ha) 1st year of planting Nitrogen - 25 Nitrogen - 25 Phosphorus - 25 Phosphorus - 25 Potassium - 50 Potassium - 50 (2 split applications) (2 split applications) 2nd year of planting Nitrogen - 40 Phosphorus - 40 Potassium - 80 (2 split applications) 3rd year of planting Nitrogen - 75 Phosphorus - 75 Potassium - 150 (2 split applications) 3.6.8Time and Method of application Ideal time for application of fertilizers is during May/June (first dose), Sept/Oct (second dose) and Dec/Jan (third dose). Cardamom being a surface feeder, after removing the mulches around the plant base, the fertilisers may be applied in a circular band of width 15 cm, leaving 30 cm from the plant base and thoroughly mixed with the top 5 to 7 cm of the surface soil with handfork. The fertiliser applied area may be covered again with mulches. 3.6.9 Plant Protection Two prophylactic sprays with 1% Bordeaux mixture and Monocrotophos / Quinalphos (0.075%) during April-May and September-October are to be given for controlling the major pests and diseases. The katte disease affected plants are to be removed at periodic intervals. Management of Major Diseases and Pests a. Diseases Nitrogen - 60 Phosphorus - 60 Potassium - 80 (3 split applications) Nitrogen - 125 Phosphorus - 125 Potassium - 250 (3 split applications)


Control of aphid vector by phytosanitary measures & removal and destruction of infected plants regulary.

Rhizome rot / Azhukal disease / Capsule rot

Phytosanitary measures, shade regulation and thrashing to remove senile parts. Spraying and drenching with 1% Bordeaux mixture or 0.2% Copper oxychloride before onset of monsoon and after the end of the monsoon.

Seedling rot, damping off and leaf spot

Seed treatment with Carbendazim + Captan @ 2 g / kg of seed for 60 minutes and spraying 0.05% Mancozeb will prevent seedling rot. For controlling damping off, provide good drainage and drench with Bordeaux mixture. Two sprays of 0.1 % Carbendazim at 10 days interval are to be given against leaf spot. b. Pests


Spray alternatively at bimonthly intervals 0.05% Monochrotophos and 0.05% Phosalone.

Shoot fly

Spray 0.03% Quinalphos or 0.05% Phosalone or 0.03% Ekalux. Root grub

Apply Carbofuran 3G @ 8-10 kg/ha during June-July and November - December. 3.7 Harvesting & Curing Cardamom starts yielding from the second year after planting. The ideal stage for harvesting is just before ripening. Capsules are to be harvested at an interval of 15 days between August and December. The post harvest operation consists of washing, pre-treatment with chemicals, curing, cleaning, grading and packing. Wash the capsules in water, immediately after harvest to remove the adhering soil and treat them with 2% washing soda for 10 minutes to retain green colour. Dry them either in sun or in drying houses by heat radiation, under controlled temperature (50 oC is optimum) to retain the delicate flavour and green colour. After drying, rub the capsules with coir mat / gunny cloth / steel mesh, sieve and grade. Cured cardamom has to be protected against light, air and temperature by packing in polythene lined gunny or cloth bags. 3.8 Yield & Economic Life Yield varies depending on the type of the cultivar grown. However, in the present model, for working out the economics, the following yield levels are considered . Year 1 2 3 4 onwards Yield (kg (dry)/ha) - 125 350 450 The economic life considered is 12 years. 4. Financial aspects 4.1 Unit Cost The item wise unit cost for 1.0 ha model of small cardamom is given in Annexure I. As per the technical and economic parameters given in Annexure II, the unit cost per hectare works out to Rs. 149700/- spread over two years (1 year : Rs. 82800 + 2 year : Rs. 66900). 4.2 Margin Money The percentage of margin / down payment to cost of development prescribed is 5, 10 and 15% for small, medium and large farmers respectively. The rest of the cost of development will be provided as bank loan. Margin considered in the present model is 10%. 4.3 Bank loan Bank loan of 85 - 95 % shall be available from the financing institution. Bank loan considered in the model is 90%. 4.4 Security Banks are guided by RBI guidelines issued from time to time in this regard. 4.5 Rate of interest The rate of interest to be charged to the ultimate borrower would be guided by RBI guidelines issued from time to time. However, the ultimate lending rate has been considered as 12 % for working out the bankability of the model project. 4.6 Financial Analysis

The detailed financial analysis is given in Annexure III. Based on the detailed financial analysis, the financial indicators are given below: NPV : Rs.187510 BCR : 1.5 : 1 IRR : 34.5 % 4.7 Repayment The bank loan along with interest is repayable in ten years including four years grace period. The detailed repayment schedule is given in Annexure IV. 5. Conclusion Cultivation of cardamom is a technically feasible, financially viable and bankable activity in the areas identified suitable for it based on agro climatic conditions. Cardamom Annexure I Cardamom Annexure II Cardamom Annexure III Cardamom Annexure IV go to top