Ginger Production in India and Other South Asian Countries: Seeds and Seed Rate

In ginger, rhizomes are used for planting. The rate of seed rhizome varies from 900 to 1,500 kg/ha. For selection and preservation of seeds, the following method is recommended in Kerala, India (KAU, 1993). Mark healthy and disease-free plants in the field when the crop is 6 to 8 months old and still green. Select the best rhizomes free from pests and diseases from the marked plants. Harvest them separately and handle seed rhizomes carefully to avoid damage to buds. Soak the selected rhizomes for 30 minutes in a solution of Mancozeb and Malathion to give a final concentration of 0.3 percent for the former and 0.1 percent for the latter. Dry the treated rhizomes in shade by spreading on a floor and then store in pits lined with sand or sawdust. It is advisable to spread layers of leaves of Glycosmis pentaphylla. Pits are covered with coconut fronds. Examine the stored rhizomes at monthly intervals and remove the rhizomes that show signs of rotting. This will help to keep the inoculum level low. Also treat the seed rhizomes in the same manner before planting.

Randhawa and Nadpuri (1970) suggested the seed rate of 1,250 kg/ha. For plains and lower altitudes, 1,500 to 1,800 kg, and at higher altitudes, (>1000 m) 2,000 to 2,500 kg is recommended. Kingra and Gupta (1977) used 2.3 to 3.5 t/ha at Himachal Pradesh. Lee et al. (1981) used 6 t/ha, which gave about 140,000 plants/ha. The yield increased with the seed rate, but the seed rate is also the most costly input, accounting for 40 to 46 percent of the total cost of production.

Under Indian conditions, the optimum size of the seed bit is ml5 g with one or two viable buds, and seed rate recommended is 1,500 kg/ha. Soaking seed rhizomes for 24 hours, 10 days prior to planting results in good sprouting. The ginger sprouts of 4 to 6 cm can be detached from the mother rhizomes and can be utilized as planting material without adversely affecting further growth of the plant. The separated rhizomes can be used for vegetable purpose. The effect of storing seed rhizomes after cutting them into pieces was studied. Early and fairly uniform germination was observed in plots planted with seed rhizomes cut and stored for 45 and 30 days before planting (KAU, 1993). In China and other adjoining ginger-growing countries the recommended ginger seed size is 75 g bits having one healthy bud.

Sengupta et al. (1986) reported an increase of 33, 51, and 80 percent in yield by increasing the weight of ginger rhizomes from 10 to 20, 30, and 40 g, respectively. The average 2-year yield (50.18 t/ha) was highest using a 40 g rhizome bit. Ahmed et al. (1988), at Gazipur, Bangladesh, observed that the highest yield of 13.42 t/ha was obtained with the largest rhizomes (21 to 30 g) planted at the closest spacing of 15 cm. The smallest rhizomes (10 g) planted at 25 cm gave only 5.41 t/ha. Korla et al. (1989), at Himachal Pradesh, reported that rhizome bits weighing 20 to 25 g gave the best results with regard to plant height, number of tillers, rhizome length and breadth, and yield. Roy and Wamanan (1989), at Gauhati, India, also reported that the yield of fresh ginger increased from 4 to 26 t/ha by increasing the weight of seed bits from 5 to 35 g. The possibility of reducing the size of ginger planting material using miniseed rhizomes (minisetts) was investigated. The treatments included three sizes of rhizome bits — 5, 10, and 15 g. Increasing the size of rhizome bits resulted in increased sprouting percentage, higher yield, and larger rhizome size. Under open and intercropping conditions, rhizome bits weighing 15 g recorded the highest sprouting. Green ginger yield increased with increasing rhizome size both under open and intercropped condition. Plants raised from rhizome bits weighing 5 g gave the lowest yield, which was inferior to other treatments. Plants from rhizomes weighing 15 g recorded the highest green ginger yield. Under open conditions plants raised from rhizome bits weighing 10 and 15 g gave higher dry ginger compared to plants from 5 g. Rhizome bits of cv. Kuruppampady performed better, however, when intercropped in a coconut garden. Cv. Maran gave higher yield in all the three sizes of seed material used. The size of rhizomes did not cause differences in quality components like volatile oil and starch in any variety, but it induced small variations in nonvolatile ether extract (NVEE) and crude fiber. The cost-benefit analysis indicated that the use of minisetts, weighing 10 g, is more profitable.

In some places, farmers plant whole rhizomes and unearth them when the crop reaches about 30 to 35 cm in height. The recovery is about 94 percent at three months after planting. This practice helps the farmers to recover 60 to 70 percent of the seed cost.

E. V. Nybe and N. Mini Raj “Ginger Production in India and Other South Asian Countries” (2005)