Archive for category Cardamom'

Large cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb.)

Large cardamom or Nepal cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb.) is a spice cultivated in the sub-Himalayan region of north-eastern India, especially in Sikkim since time immemorial. In the past the aboriginal inhabitants of Sikkim, Lepchas, collected capsules of large cardamom from natural forest, but later on these forests passed into village ownership and the villagers started cultivation of large cardamom. The presence of wild species, locally known as churumpa, and the variability within the cultivated species supports the view of its origin in Sikkim (). Later the cultivation has spread to northern Uttar Pradesh, north-eastern States of India (Arunachal Pradesh, Mizorum and Manipur), Nepal and Bhutan. Sikkim is the largest producer of large cardamom; the annual production in India is about 3500–4000 mt of cured Large cardamom. The average productivity is 100–150 kg/ha, but in well-maintained plantations the productivity reaches 1000–2000 kg/ha. Nepal and Bhutan are the other two countries cultivating this crop with an annual production of about 1500 mt. This spice is used in Ayurvedic preparation in India as mentioned by Susruta in the sixth century BC and also known among Greeks and Romans as Amomum (Ridley, 1912). Read more […]

Cultivars of Large Cardamom

All the cultivars of Large cardamom cultivated commercially belong to the species, Amomum subulatum Roxburgh. Out of the total 150 species of Amomum occurring in the tropics of old world, only about eight species are considered to be native of eastern Sub-Himalayan region viz., A. subulatum Roxb., A. costatum Benth., A. linguiformae Benth., A. pauciflorum Baker, A. corynostachyum Baker, A. dealbatum Roxb. (A. sericeum Roxb.), A. kingii Roxb. and A. aromaticum Roxb (). Later 18 species of Amomum were reported from the north-eastern Himalayan regions (). In the Indian subcontinent itself there is another centre of diversity in the Western Ghats region in the South West India. Gamble (1925) has reported six species from this region. There are mainly five cultivars of Large cardamom viz., Ramsey, Sawney, Golsey, Varlangey (Bharlangey) and Bebo (). They are well known. Some other sub-cultivars of the above ones (Ramnag, Ramla, Madhusey, Mongney etc.) are also seen in cultivation in small areas in Sikkim State. Another cultivar Seremna or Lephrakey (a Golsey type) is also getting importance and is spreading to more areas in lower altitudes (). Ramsey The name Ramsey was derived from two Bhutia words – ‘Ram’ meaning Read more […]

Plant Propagation of Large Cardamom

Propagation of Large cardamom is done through seeds, rhizomes (sucker multiplication) and tissue culture techniques. Cultivars suitable for specific areas, altitudes, agro-climatic conditions and mother plant/clump of known performance are selected for collection of seed, rhizome and vegetative bud. Nursery practices Propagation through seeds Healthy plantation, free from viral disease in particular, is selected for seed capsules. Gardens with productivity of 1000 kg/ha or more during the past 3 years are considered. Higher number of spike bearing (reproductive) tillers per plant (bush), higher number of spikes and capsules, bold capsules, higher number of seeds per capsule etc. are some of the criteria looked into for selecting a plot for collection of seed capsule. Spikes are harvested at maturity and seed capsules are collected from the lowest two circles in the spike. After dehusking, the seeds are washed well with water to remove mucilage covering of seeds, mixed with wood ash and dried under shade. The dried seeds are treated with 25 per cent nitric acid for 10 min for early and higher percentage of germination (). The acid-treated seeds are washed thoroughly in running water to remove the acid residue Read more […]

Large Cardamom: Plantation Management

Soil condition, preparation of land and shade development Large cardamom is grown in forest loamy soils having soil depth a few inches to several feet. Color of soil ranges from brownish yellow to dark brown; in most cases from dark yellowish brown to very dark grayish brown. Texture is sandy, sandy loam, silty loam or clay. In general, soil is acidic having pH ranging from 5 to 5.5 or more, and with 1 per cent or more organic carbon (). On an average, these soils are high in available Nitrogen and medium in Phosphorous and Potassium. The mean nutrient concentrations reported from one study (mg/g of soil) are: organic carbon 23.87, total nitrogen 3.30 and total phosphorous 0.75 (). As the terrain is gentle to deep slope, chances of water logging is less, however, water-logged conditions are not suitable and adequate drainage is quite essential for better stand of the crop (). In general Large cardamom is cultivated on hill slopes, and often in terraced lands (earlier under paddy cultivation), after raising adequate shade trees. In case of land under gentle slope, cardamom is planted on the slopes and in case of medium and steep slopes, the slopes are cut into terraces before planting. Large cardamom is a shade-loving Read more […]

Large Cardamom: Insect Pest Management

More than 22 insect pests are known to be associated with Large cardamom, and only a few of them cause substantial damage to the crop (). Leaf caterpillar Leaf eating caterpillar (Artona chorista Jordon, Lepidoptera: Zygaenidae), is a major pest of Large cardamom in Sikkim and West Bengal (). Its outbreak was recorded in 1978 in Sikkim where about 2000 acres of Large cardamom plantations were severely defoliated (). The leaf caterpillar is first recorded as Clelea plumbiola Hampson on large cardamom by Bhowmik (). chorista occurs sporadically in epidemic form in Sikkim and West Bengal every year. Usually the incidence of the pest is observed from June to July and October–March in the field. Severe damage was recorded in Lower Dzongu, Phodong, Ramthung Basti (north Sikkim), Soreng, Hee, Chako (west Sikkim), Kewizing (south Sikkim); Assamlinzey, Dalapchand and Rongli (east Sikkim) and Gotak (Darjeeling Dist. of West Bengal). Nature and extent of damage The leaf caterpillars are monophagous and highly host specific. The caterpillars are gregarious in nature (60–200 caterpillars/leaf) and feed on chlorophyll contents underneath the leaf, leaving transparent epidermis and veins (skeletonization). The damaged Read more […]

Diseases of Large Cardamom

The crop is susceptible to a number of diseases, which are mainly viral and fungal in origin. Large cardamom productivity is affected seriously by viral diseases. However fungal diseases are not major constraints. There are two viral diseases on large cardamom causing severe damage to the plantations. Chirke is serious as far as rate of spread is concerned; Foorkey is serious as far as yield loss is concerned. Among fungal diseases, flower rot, clump rot, leaf streak and wilt are known to cause damage to the plant and ultimately reduce the crop yield. Chirke This virus disease is characterized by mosaic with pale streak on the leaves. The streaks turn pale brown resulting in drying and withering of leaves and plants. The flowering in diseased plants is extensively reduced and only one to five flowers develop in one inflorescence, as against 16–20 in an inflorescence of healthy plants () and by the end of third year of crop the loss is around 85 per cent. The cultivar Kopringe is resistant to chirke while the perennial weed, Acorus calamus L. was found to be highly susceptible (). The disease is readily transmitted by mechanical sap inoculation and in field it is spread by aphids, Rhopalosiphum maidis Fitch., within Read more […]

Large Cardamom: Harvesting and Post Harvest Technology

First crop comes to harvest about 2–3 years after planting of sucker or seedling. However stabilized yields are obtained only from the 4th year up to 10–12 years. Sustainable yield depends on proper plantation management like regular rouging coupled with replanting, weeding, mulching plant bases, winter/summer irrigation, shade regulation etc. Harvesting season starts in August/September in low altitudes and continues up to December at high altitudes. Usually harvesting is done in one round and hence the harvested produce often contains capsules of varying maturity. Harvesting is done when the seeds of top capsules in the spike attain dark gray color. A special type of knife, locally known as Elaichi chhuri is used for harvesting. The stalk of the spike is cut very close to the leafy shoot. After harvest, individual capsules are separated manually. Capsules after harvest are cured to reduce moisture level to 10–12 per cent. The traditional curing is called Bhatti curing system (direct heat drying). Large cardamom is also cured by flue pipe curing system (indirect heat drying). Bhatti system Drying of cardamom is generally done in kilns locally called Bhatti. A Bhatti consists of a platform made of bamboo mats/wire Read more […]

Cardamom economy

Cardamom is an important spice commodity of international commerce ever since the ancient Greek and Roman period. Until 1979–80 India was the largest producer and dominated the International trade in cardamom earning valuable foreign exchange for the nation. More than 90 per cent cardamom of international commerce, both small as well as large, originated in India. However, during the past two decades, Indian cardamom is facing serious threat in the world market from Guatemala, which has slowly and steadily encroached into the traditional Indian export markets. Currently this Central American country with an average annual production of more than 13,000 mt hasemerged as the top producer and exporter of cardamom in the world and India has been relegated to the second position. The cost of production of cardamom in India is relatively high compared to that in Guatemala, mainly due to poor yield and low productivity. India’s highest productivity level in years of good crop is three times lesser than the yield per ha in Guatemala. Senility and poor unselected varieties, prolonged drought and over-dependence on monsoon, predominance of small holdings, problems of land tenure (lease), inadequate management practices, Read more […]

Cardamom economy: Trends in area, production and productivity

The data base Official statistics on area, production and productivity of cardamom in India are conflicting and are of doubtful reliability. There is wide disparity between official estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Commerce of Government of India. Trade estimates of production by the Indian Pepper and Spice Trade Association, Kochi gives a third figure. The official estimates have always been considerably lower than the trade estimates of production. Bias in the official estimates arise mainly out of: (a) Inadequate sampling and estimation procedures which do not take into account the perennial nature of the crop and regional variations in cultivation. (b) Exclusion of encroached forestland and unregistered smallholdings from the purview of estimation. Despite such limitations, an attempt is made here to analyze the available information on area, production and productivity of cardamom with a view to get some broad indications of the possible changes that have been taking place in the crop economy during the last 25 years and future prospects for the immediate 5 years. The emerging trends The time series data on area, production and productivity of cardamom along with growth index Read more […]

Cardamom economy: Domestic market structure and prices

Cardamom trade in India is what may be called a regulated trade. Cardamom (Licensing and marketing) Rules 1987 was introduced to streamline the system of marketing in general and bringing about control in the form of restricting the entry of persons into the different functional categories, namely exporters, dealers and auctioneers. The declared purpose of such regulation is to ensure a fair price for the product and the timely payment of the sale proceeds. Export marketing of cardamom is regulated by the Spices Board (Registration of Exporters) Regulation 1989. The Spices Board issues the following certificates/licenses: Cardamom dealer licenses. Cardamom auctioneer licenses. Certificate of Registration as exporter of spices. Registration-cum-membership certificates to exporters (RCMC). Market Intelligence Officers have been posted in important marketing/auction centers to collect reports on crop purchase, sales, movement and price trends. An important aspect of the market structure is the existence of an efficient auction system, which ensures fair prices to the larger planters who take their produce to the auction centre. There are at present 11 auction centers in India. Though the auction Read more […]