Cardamom is an aromatic spice used in cooking. It is also called “cardamom” or “Elaichi”. Cardamom is native to India and Sri Lanka. It is also grown in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, and the United States. Cardamom is used in Indian cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine, Chinese cuisine, Thai cuisine, Japanese cuisine, and American cuisine.
The botanical name for the small cardamom plant is Elettaria cardamom Maton. And, it belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. Some of these major cardamom-production countries are India, Indonesia, and Guatemala. Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu are the major cardamom-producing states in India, where 70%, 20%, and 10% respectively produce cardamom.
Is Cardamom Farming Profitable?
Cardamom farming can be a profitable business venture for farmers who are looking for an alternative crop to grow. Cardamom is one of the most popular spices worldwide. It is used in both sweet dishes and savory ones. It is also used in drinks and desserts. The seeds of the plant are used to make tea.
Furthermore, the spice has great exporting potential. Indian cardamoms enjoy a premium preference in the middle east, Japan, and Russia relish it for its distinct enriching properties. Saudi Arabia is the largest market for Indian cardamom, with a share of around 50%, followed by Kuwait, UAE, and the US.
Apart from the seeds (which are used as a spice), there is another application of the plant. That is cardamom oil (also known as eucalyptus oil). Oil is an essential ingredient in processed foods, cosmetics, soaps, and perfumes. In addition, the fruit is used in Ayurvedic medicine for dental infections, digestive problems, etc. Cardamoms are among the most popular cash crops in the world.
Health Benefits of Cardamom
- Cardamom helps your body eliminate waste through the kidney.
- The spice relieves acidity.
- It is also useful for curing dental diseases, urinary tract infections, and other health conditions.
- Cardamom is full of various vitamins and minerals.
- Furthermore, cardamom contains antimicrobial properties.
Things To Consider in Commercial Cardamom Farming
- Cardamom cultivation requires specific climatic conditions. So, make sure you know what these are before you start planting your crop.
- In addition, select a variety carefully. According to demand and your marketing policy, you must choose the right kind.
- Commercial cardamom cultivation requires long-term planning. Generally, cardamom comes into bearing two to three years after planting. So, you have to prepare for mid-time capital investment
- Generally, there are certain price influencing factors in cardamon trading. These are the freshness, color, aroma, and size of the cardamom. So you must be very careful in these aspects.
Best Varieties for Cardamom Farming
Commercially cultivated varieties of small cardamom include Mudigere 1, PVS 1, CCS 1, and SKP 14 (Karnataka), ICRI 1, and ICR 2 (Kerala) and Malabar with prostrate panicle, Mysore with erect panicle and Vazhukkha with semi-erect panicle. However, there are also other varieties that are recognized by the Indian Spice Board. These are Malabar with prostrate panicle, MYSORE with erect panicle and VAZHUKKA with semi-erect panicle
Agroclimatic Condition for Cardamom Farming
Cardamom is a tropical spice that is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The plant grows best in humid, wet conditions with plenty of sunlight. Cardamom is typically grown in areas with an annual rainfall of at least 1000mm. The ideal temperature for growing cardamom is 20-25 degrees Celsius.
Suitable Soil for Cardamom Farming
Cardamom prefers moist, fertile, loamy soils. Usually, an acid and pH balance of 5.0–6.5 is perfect for growing this plant. However, if you grow cardamom in an evergreen forest with organic matter enriched by surface soil, then you can also grow this plant in soils rich in nitrogen and low to medium phosphorus and potassium. You should also arrange a good drainage system.
Read: Is soil testing important in agriculture?
Commercial Cardamom farming Basic Steps
You can grow cardamon both through seeds and vegetative methods. The vegetative method produces larger quantities of plants. However, for small-scale farming, you can grow seeds. In this case, you can raise seedlings from seed in the nursery beds. These become ready for planting after about eight to ten months.
You can transplant the seeds in the rainy season. Usually, cloudy days with light rain are ideal for planting. Avoid deep planting. Because it leads to suppression of growth and causes the death of plants due to the decay of underground rhizomes, cardamom requires a steady source of moisture and will not withstand drought. Cardamom is not resistant to cold. However, you should keep the plants in an area with many hours of partial shade.
Cardamom is an aromatic spice used in cooking. It is also known as katakka. It is native to India and Sri Lanka. It is used in Indian cuisine and is one of the ingredients in garam masala. It is also used in baking. It is used in chai tea and coffee. It is also used as a natural insecticide. It is also used to make perfume. It is also used for medicinal purposes. It is used to treat stomach disorders. It is also used against colds and coughs. It is also used during
Frequent irrigation at 25–35 days intervals is necessary during the summer months. Regular irrigation helps in the initiation of flowers, flowering, and fruit sets. However, you must keep the soil moisture level always higher than 50% to avoid any kind of stress. You can also go for the drip irrigation system.
You must take preventive steps against disease and pest attacks, however, some of the potentially damaging diseases are nursery leaf spot, nursery leaf rot, damping off or seedling rot, and clump rot (rhizome rot).
There are some harmful pests and insect attacks that include Rhizome weevils, Shoot flies, Shoot borer, Root worms, Spotted red spider mites, Cutworms, and plant-parasitic nematodes.
Harvesting & Yield
Cardamom plants begin bearing fruit in the second or third year of planting. The fruits mature at about thirty days intervals. Harvesting begins in August and continues through March.
When fruits are ripening, you can harvest them. You can expect an annual yield of 500 kg/hectare of dry capsules. The pre-harvest operation consists of washing, chemical treatment, curing, cleaning, sorting, grading, and packing the harvested fruit.
Commercial cardamom growing is a financially profitable business, but it requires patience and strategic planning to achieve long-term success.