Lemongrass is an important herb cultivated in many parts of the world, including India. It is widely used for its medicinal properties, as well as for culinary purposes. Lemongrass farming in India is gaining popularity due to the increasing demand for its essential oil and the herb itself. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover all aspects of lemongrass farming in India, including its cultivation, management, and marketing.
Introduction to Lemongrass
Lemongrass, also known as Cymbopogon citratus, is a perennial grass that belongs to the Poaceae family. It is a tropical plant that thrives in warm and humid conditions and is native to India, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Lemongrass has a distinct lemony scent and flavor, which is why it is commonly used in culinary dishes, teas, and fragrances. It is also widely used in traditional medicine for its antifungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cultivation of Lemongrass
Climate and Soil Requirements
Lemongrass requires a warm and humid climate to grow, with a temperature range of 20-35°C. It can be grown in a variety of soils, but it prefers well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. The ideal pH range for lemongrass cultivation is 5.5-7.5.
Varieties of Lemongrass
There are two main varieties of lemongrass that are grown in India: East Indian lemongrass and West Indian lemongrass. East Indian lemongrass has a higher content of essential oil and is used for the production of essential oil. West Indian lemongrass has a lower content of essential oil and is mainly used for culinary purposes.
Lemongrass can be propagated by seed or by vegetative methods. The most common method of propagation is by vegetative means, using stem cuttings. The stem cuttings should be taken from healthy and disease-free plants and should be around 25-30 cm in length.
Land Preparation and Planting
The land should be prepared well in advance of planting lemongrass. The soil should be plowed, harrowed, and leveled to create a fine tilth. Organic manure should be applied at the rate of 10-15 tonnes per hectare, and the soil should be mixed thoroughly. Planting should be done during the onset of monsoon when the soil is moist.
The stem cuttings should be planted at a distance of 45-60 cm between rows and 30-45 cm between plants. The planting depth should be around 5-7 cm. After planting, the soil should be pressed firmly around the stem cuttings to ensure good contact with the soil.
Lemongrass requires regular irrigation to maintain its growth and yield. The first irrigation should be given immediately after planting, and subsequently, irrigation should be done at an interval of 7-10 days. In areas with heavy rainfall, drainage channels should be created to prevent waterlogging.
Lemongrass requires regular fertilization to maintain its growth and yield. The recommended fertilizer dose for lemongrass is 50:50:50 NPK kg/ha. The first application of fertilizer should be done one month after planting, and subsequently, fertilizer should be applied at an interval of 45-60 days.
Weed control is an important aspect of lemongrass cultivation, as weeds can compete with the crop for nutrients and water. Manual weeding or using herbicides can be done to control weeds in lemongrass fields. It is important to take care while using herbicides, as lemongrass is a sensitive crop and can be easily damaged by herbicides.
Pests and Diseases
Lemongrass is relatively resistant to pests and diseases, but some common pests and diseases that can affect the crop include:
- Shoot and root borer: This pest can damage the stem and roots of the plant, leading to stunted growth and reduced yield.
- Leaf folder: This pest can damage the leaves of the plant, leading to reduced photosynthesis and lower yield.
- Leaf rust: This disease can cause yellowing and drying of leaves, leading to reduced yield.
To control pests and diseases, farmers can use appropriate insecticides and fungicides. It is important to follow the recommended dosage and application method, as excessive use of chemicals can lead to damage to the crop and the environment.
Harvesting and Post-Harvest Management
Lemongrass can be harvested 4-5 months after planting when the plants have reached a height of 1-1.5 meters. The leaves and stems of the plant are harvested using a sickle or a sharp knife. Care should be taken not to damage the growing point of the plant, as this can affect its growth and yield.
After harvesting, the leaves and stems should be cleaned and dried in the sun for 3-4 days. The dried leaves and stems can be stored in a cool and dry place, and can be used for the production of essential oil or for culinary purposes.
Marketing of Lemongrass
Lemongrass can be sold in the local market or can be exported to other countries. The demand for lemongrass is high in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries, due to its medicinal and aromatic properties.
To market lemongrass, farmers can:
- Sell directly to local markets or restaurants
- Sell to intermediaries such as traders or processors
- Participate in farmer producer organizations or cooperatives to access better markets
It is important for farmers to maintain quality standards and hygiene while harvesting, handling, and transporting lemongrass, to ensure that the product meets the requirements of the market.
Lemongrass farming in India has the potential to provide a profitable livelihood to farmers, due to the increasing demand for its essential oil and herb. However, it requires proper planning and management, starting from land preparation to marketing. By following the recommended practices and guidelines, farmers can achieve a good yield and quality of lemongrass and can access better markets for their produce. With the right knowledge and skills, lemongrass farming can be a sustainable and profitable enterprise for farmers in India.
ffreedom app is providing a Lemongrass farming course to farmers who are interested in starting or improving their lemongrass farming enterprise. The course covers all aspects of lemongrass farming, including land preparation, planting, pest and disease management, harvesting, and post-harvest management. It also provides information on the market demand for lemongrass and how to access better markets for the produce. The course is designed to provide farmers with the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve a good yield and quality of lemongrass and to improve their livelihoods. The ffreedom app‘s lemongrass farming course is a valuable resource for anyone interested in this lucrative and sustainable agricultural enterprise.
You can explore our Lemongrass farming Course through the following links:
Lemongrass Farming Course in Hindi: https://ffreedom.com/hindi/farming-courses/lemon-grass-farming-earn-over-25-lakhs-per-acre