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Organic ginger cultivation in Sikkim

Shri Nim Tshering Lepcha, the President of Lower Nandok of Nandok-Naitam GPU, East Sikkim district, is an innovative farmer engaging himself in different farm activities like off-season vegetable cultivation in low-cost houses, large cardamom cultivation, fishery, backyard poultry, dairy etc. to earn additional income. These ventures however, were not very much profitable with the amount of labour involvement. There was a lot of interest among the farmers, of the village to start the production of organic ginger in the region but the technological inputs and knowledge of cultivation was lacking. Shri Lepcha was in a dilemma in growing this crop for economic viability and in fact, he was having the problem in procurement of quality planting materials for further multiplication, proper processing and organized marketing.

Technology/process intervened
The scientists of ICAR-KVK, East Sikkim visited the village and the organic production of ginger technology was imparted through skill based trainings and demonstrations at farmers’ field. At first, he was provided with 200 kilograms of good quality ginger rhizomes (cv. Bhaisey) as seed material during the year 2013-14. Shri Lepcha successfully adopted the improved ginger cultivation technology under organic condition. Effect of the technology /process
The achievements of technological interventions of ginger cultivation with regard to the results from 2013-14 to 2017-18 is presented below:

YearArea under cultivation (ha)Yield/ha (q/ha)Gross expenditure (q/ha)Gross Return(q/ha)Net Return (q/ha)B:C ratio
2013-140.10129. 51,28,250.003,88,500.002,60,250.003.0
2016-170.50140. 81,22,420.004,22,400.002,99,980.003.4

The crop is ready for harvest after 8.5-9 months of sowing with an average yield of 137.13 q/ha and average net return of Rs. 2,84,905/ha per year resulting B:C ratio of the crop to the tune of 3.28.

Most of the farmers of Nandok village now are engaged in growing ginger which has become an important economic activity of the farmers of this area. The other fellow farmers in the village are motivated by the quality planting material based production technology of ginger under organic condition for its high return. Among the growers, Mr. Phurba Lepcha of Upper Nandok is best known in the field of ginger production. He has wide practical knowledge and better experience in the field of ginger cultivation. It has also been reported that he has been able to produce 6500 kg of ginger crop out of 200 kg rhizome seed for two consecutive years. The ginger seeds so produced by Mr. Phurba Lepcha have a high demand in the local area for seed production. Thus, it became a necessary story in ginger cultivation, which encouraged other farmers of the region to opt for cultivation as high value cash crop ginger.

The technology demonstrated in an area of 0.10 ha in the field of Shri Nim Tshering Lepcha at Lower Nandok during 2013-14 has now extended to an area of 1.0 ha. Presently, more than 8 ha land is under ginger cultivation in Nandok village of East District. The productive potential of the technology was tapped by majority of the maize growers and they have started ginger cultivation purely as sole crop, a suitable alternative to mandarin intercrop. This case study of ginger production technology has led to the adoption of this technology amongst many farmers, farm women and rural youth of Nandok and has also spread to nearby villages Thanzing, Upper Khamdong, Yangthang, Thanka and Lingtam villages of East Sikkim covering an area of 50 ha for sole crop of ginger.

The fresh ginger rhizomes are being sold to the traders/retailers and/or to the local merchants. Marketing agencies are managed by the private and government traders with the few co-operative societies that handle this product.


Ginger Cultivation: Ginger Harvesting and Post-Harvest Operations

In about eight to ten months depending upon the maturity of the variety, the ginger crop is ready to harvest. When fully mature leaves turn yellow and start drying up gradually.
Harvesting is done from the 6th month onwards for making vegetable ginger.
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Ginger Cultivation Guide


Ginger is an important spice and used in different forms such as raw ginger, dry ginger, bleached dry ginger, ginger powder oleoresin, ginger beer, ginger candy, ginger wine etc. Kerala is the major ginger growing state. Other major ginger growing states are Orissa, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. Ginger grows in warm and humid climate.



Ginger can be grown both under rainfed and irrigated conditions. A moderate rainfall at the sowing time till the rhizomes sprout, fairly heavy and well distributed showers during the growing period and dry weather for about a month before harvesting are necessary.


Ginger thrives the best in well drained soils like sandy or clay loam, red loam, or lateritic loam. A friable loam rich in humus is ideal. It may not be desirable to grow ginger in the same site year after year.

Preparation of land planting

The land is to be ploughed 4-5 times or dug thoroughly to bring the soil to fine tilth. Weeds, stubbles, roots etc removed. Beds of about one meter width, 15cm height and of any convenient length are prepared at an inter-space of 50cm in between beds. In case of irrigated crops, ridges are formed 40cm apart.


They are generally named after the localities or places where they are grown. Common cultivars are Maran, Assam and Rio-de-Janeiro, Suprabha, Suruchi, Suravi, Himagiri, China, Himachal, Nadia, HSR-Varada.


The best time for planting ginger in West Coast of India is during the first fortnight of May with the receipt of pre-monsoon showers. Under irrigated conditions, it can be planted well in advance during the middle of February or early March.


Ginger is always propagated by rhizomes. Carefully preserved seeds rhizomes are cut into small pieces of 2.5-5cm length weighing 20-25g each having one or two good buds. The seed rate varies from region to region and with the method of cultivation adopted. The seed rhizomes are treated with 0.3% Dithane M-45 (3g in one litre of water) for 30 min, drained and planted at a spacing of 20-25cm along the rows and 20-25cm between the rows.


At the time of planting, well decomposed and dried cattle manure or compost at the rate of 25-30 tonnes per hectare is to be applied. It may be applied prior to planting or applied in planting pits at the time of planting. Application of neem cake at 2 tonnes per hectare at the time of planting helps in reducing the incidence of rhizome rot of ginger. In case of fertilizer 25bags per hectare 7:10:5 (bone meal) applied before planting. And 2-2.5 months after planting 5 bags per hectare of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) should be applied by mixing in the soil and also 2.5 bags urea per hectare.

Intercultural operations


Mulching the ginger beds with green leaves is essential to enhance germination and to prevent washing off soil due to heavy rain.


Weeding is done just before fertilizer application and mulching. Two or three weedings are required depending on the intensity of weed growth.

Crop rotation and mixed cropping

Ginger is commonly rotated with other crops. The crops most commonly rotated with ginger are tapioca, chillies, dry paddy in rainfed areas and ragi, groundnut, maize and vegetables, red gram and castor.

Plant Protection

Insect pest
Shoot borer

The presence or bore hole on the pseudo stems through which the frass is extruded and the withered central shoot are the symptoms of pest infestation.
Spraying of Malathion 0.1% during July-October at monthly intervals is effective against the pest.

Leaf roller

The larvae of the leaf roller cut and fold the leaves and remain within and feed on them.
In severe infestation, spraying with carbaryl 10-1% or dimethoate 0.05% may be undertaken.


Soft rot or rhizome rot

The disease is soil borne and the fungus multiplies with build up of soil moisture with the onset of south-west monsoon. The collar region of affected pseudostem becomes water soaked and rotting spreads to the rhizome resulting in typical soft rot.
Treat the seed rhizomes with 0.3% Dithane M-45 for 30 min. Drench the beds with Dithane M-45 (0.3%) or Captofol (0.3%).

Bacterial wilt

This is also a soil and seed borne disease. Water soaked spots appear at the collar region of the pseudostem and progress upwards and downwards. The affected pseudostem or the rhizome when pressed gently exudes milky ooze from the vascular strands.
Seed rhizomes may be treated with 200 ppm Streptocycline for 30 minuted and shade dried before planting. A uniform drenching be given to all beds with 1% bordeaux mixture or 0.2% copper oxycchloride.

Harvesting and curing

The crop is ready for harvest in about eight month's time when the leaves turn yellow, and start drying up gradually. The clumps are lifted carefully with a spade or digging fork, and the rhizomes are separated from the dried up leaves, roots and adhering soft. For making vegetables ginger, harvesting is done from 16 months onwards. The rhizomes are thoroughly washed in water twice or thrice and sun-dried for a day. The average yield of fresh ginger per hectare varies with varieties ranging 15-25 tonnes.

Preservation of seed rhizomes

For seed materials, big and healthy rhizomes from disease free plants are selected immediately after the harvest. For this purpose, healthy and disease-free clumps are marked in the field when the crop is 6-8months old and still green. The seed rhizomes are treated with a solution containing 0.1% quinalphos and 0.3% Dithane-M-45 for 30 min. Drain the solution and dry the rhizomes under shade. The seed rhizomes are stored in pits of convenient size in sheds.

Dry ginger

For dry ginger the produce is kept soaked in water overnight. The rhizomes are then rubbed well to clean them. The rhizomes are removed from the water and the outer skin is removed with bamboo splinters. The peeled rhizomes are washed and dried in sun uniformly for one week. To get good appearance, peeled rhizomes are soaked in 2% lime water for 6 hours and dried thereafter. The yield of dry ginger is 16-25% of the fresh ginger depending on the variety.

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