It becomes necessary to talk about Ashwagandha Cultivation, because it is an ancient plant. Whose scientific name is Withania somnifera, and it is known as a very important and beneficial plant in India.
That is because it is being used since ancient times to make Unani and Ayurvedic medicines. Ashwagandha plant can grow up to a height of about 1.5 meters, Ashwagandha Cultivation is suitable for dry and subtropical regions.
Due to its species being adapted to drought and subtropical, it is cultivated as a monopoly in many parts of India, because they know that this type of cultivation is not possible in other parts. Generally Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are the major producing states of Ashwagandha in India.
You can get an idea of how much Ashwagandha cultivation can earn the farmers of India from the fact that the annual requirement of Ashwagandha roots in India is about 7000 tonnes, while the estimated production is only 1500 tonnes. Although Ashwagandha Cultivation is done in more than 5000 hectares of land in Madhya Pradesh alone, it is much less than its demand.
The states which we have mentioned in the above sentence, if you are from any of them. And are thinking of growing a crop that earns more than their farming. So it may be appropriate to consider the cultivation of Ashwagandha. Because the demand for Ashwagandha roots is very high in India, but the supply is less than half of that.
Therefore, further in this article, we have to prepare the field for the medicinal use of Ashwagandha, suitable soil for cultivation, suitable climate, varieties of Ashwagandha, Ashwagandha cultivation. Trying to give information on other points.
Medicinal Properties and Uses of Ashwagandha
Farmers or entrepreneurs thinking of doing Ashwagandha Cultivation want to know about its medicinal use, so that they can be sure that there is demand for Ashwagandha in the market. Ashwagandha is considered one of the most effective rejuvenating agents in the Ayurvedic system of medicine.
Not only the root but also the seeds and leaves have been used in traditional medicine like Unani and Ayurveda since ancient times. And even today Ashwagandha is used to make Unani and Ayurveda medicines. Although its roots, seeds and leaves are used to make medicines for different disorders.
Ashwagandha root is used to make medicines for rheumatic pain, inflammation of the joints, nervous disorders and epilepsy. The leaves are used to make medicine for inflammation and the juice is used to make eye drops etc. Its bark is also used to make decoction etc., which is beneficial for patients suffering from asthma.
Apart from this, its dried roots are used to make tonic for hiccups, cold, cough, female disorders. Ashwagandha and its extracts are also used to make herbal teas, powders, tablets, and syrups. That’s why cultivating Ashwagandha at present can prove to be extremely beneficial.
Climate and soil for Ashwagandha cultivation
Ashwagandha is cultivated in India as a kharif crop, for this type of crop, areas that receive 500 to 750 mm of rainfall and come under the semi-tropical zone are suitable. But if this crop gets one or two rains in winter, there is a lot of improvement in the development of its roots.
But when the Ashwagandha crop is growing, it needs dry weather, so Ashwagandha cultivation is started when the rainy season is about to end.
Ashwagandha plants have the ability to tolerate temperatures from 200C to 380C, although they can tolerate temperatures as low as 100C. This type of farming can be done easily in areas up to a height of 1500 meters above sea level. As far as the soil suitable for Ashwagandha cultivation is concerned, sandy loam soil with a pH of 7.5 to 8.0 is suitable, but this crop is also good in light red soil, black soil etc.
Although there are many varieties of Ashwagandha available in India as well, recently the Jawaharlal Nehru Agricultural University located in Madhya Pradesh has discovered a good variety. And this variety of Ashwagandha has been named Bhijwahar, this variety has been considered the most suitable variety for planting in high density.
The crop of this variety of Ashwagandha called Jawahar is completed in 180 days i.e. about six months and the amount of withanolides in dry roots of Ashwagandha produced from this crop is up to 0.30%.
Preparation of nursery for cultivation of Ashwagandha
For Ashwagandha Cultivation, the seeds are not sown directly in the fields, but in the same way as onion is cultivated, a nursery is prepared to grow plants from Ashwagandha seeds. And then those plants are planted in the field where Ashwagandha is to be cultivated. To grow such plants, sand and manure are mixed well to make nursery or bed, after that their bed is prepared.
Seeds are sown in these beds just before the monsoon, if you want to cultivate Ashwagandha in one hectare of land, then a nursery of 7-9 kg of seeds has to be prepared for it. Within 5-7 days of sowing the seeds in the beds, sprouts start coming in them. And when the plants are about 35 days old, they are planted in the main field by transplanting method.
Field preparation and planting
To prepare the field for Ashwagandha cultivation, 2/3 of the field is plowed before the rains and discing or harrowing is done. The land is plowed well, the soil is pulverized, 10-20 tonnes of manure is added, and then the field is levelled.
As far as planting of saplings is concerned, beds are prepared at a distance of 60 cm for their transplanting. However, at some places plants are planted at a distance of 60 cm, at some places at 30 cm and at some places at a distance of 45 cm. But according to a figure, about 55000 plants can be planted per hectare of land by following the distance of 60 cm x 30 cm.
Seed rate, treatment and method of sowing
Ashwagandha is cultivated by different methods, if we talk about broadcast method, then 10-12 kg of seed per hectare is sufficient. Ashwagandha seeds can also be sown in line. This method contributes significantly to the production of roots, hence this method is preferred in Ashwagandha Cultivation. Whether broadcast method is used, or line method, in both the methods the seeds are sown at a depth of 1-3 cm, and then covered with light soil.
Where the distance from plant to plant should be about 8-10 cm, while the distance from line to line is 20-25 cm. Although this distance can also be increased depending on the fertile capacity of the soil.
Thiram or Dithane M45 can be used at the rate of 3 grams per kg to protect the seeds from many types of diseases i.e. 30 grams Thiram or Dithane M45 can be used in 10 kg of seeds. The seeds are treated with Thiram or Dithane M45 before sowing.
Weeding for Ashwgandha Cultivation
The plants grown through broadcast method or through line method in rows have to be managed within 25-30 days of their sowing in such a way that they do not exceed 30 to 60 plants per square meter, if this happens You have to uproot those extra plants by hand and plant them elsewhere.
This is already taken care of in the planting method. To keep the plants free from weeds etc., first weeding should be done within 20-25 days of sowing and that means second weeding should be done after 20-25 days of first weeding.
Fertilizer water for Ashwagandha cultivation
However, Ashwagandha cultivation does not require huge amounts of manure or fertilizers. But to increase the production, you have to use manure, although organic manure is most suitable for Ashwagandha cultivation, so adding 10 ton FYM / 1 ton vermicompost per hectare is advised.
To further increase the production, 15 kg Nitrogen and 15 kg Phosphorus can also be used per hectare of land. As far as irrigation or water is concerned, excessive rain or irrigation is harmful for Ashwagandha cultivation.
After transplanting the plants, light sprinkling of water on their roots helps them to get established in the ground. If the plants start drying up, irrigation can be given to save their lives, although this crop does not require a lot of water.
Pests and Diseases of Ashwagandha
No serious diseases have been observed so far on this type of crop but diseases like seedling rock and blight have been observed to harm this crop. Where there is moisture and very high temperature, there is a high possibility of dying out of the plants sprouted from the seed.
But this type of problem can be prevented by the previously mentioned treatment which includes the use of disease free seeds. Carbofuran at the rate of 2 kg per hectare can be used at the time of sowing, neem cake can also be used.
Whenever there is any damage to Ashwagandha crop by insects, Rogor or Nuvan can be sprayed at the rate of 0.6%. Apart from this, a mixture of 0.5% malathion and 0.3% calthane can also be sprayed in Ashwagandha cultivation at an interval of 10-15 days.
when to harvest the crop
The maturity of the crop is judged by drying of leaves and yellow red berries. That is, when the leaves of Ashwagandha start drying up and the berries start turning red yellow, then it should be understood that the crop is ready for harvesting. Roots are also important in the cultivation of Ashwagandha, so they are dug and harvested between 150 to 180 days after their sowing in the months of February to March.
Keep in mind that when the roots are being excavated, there should be moisture in the soil, plow or power tiller can also be used for digging. Root is the important product of this crop so it should be taken out carefully.
Even after that, different parts of Ashwagandha like root, seed, leaves etc. need to be separated. But before digging, the stem is cut 1-2 cm above the root and the roots are separated from it. And when the roots are excavated, then they are thoroughly washed and cut into small pieces and dried in the sun. According to the length and thickness of the roots, they are divided into different grades.
The best value product from Ashwagandha cultivation is strong and long root, which fetches a good price. These roots can be stored in tin containers to protect them from moisture and fungus. Ashwagandha berries are also plucked and separated, dried and crushed to extract the seeds. Now it comes to the question that how much is produced from the cultivation of Ashwagandha.
So according to a figure, about 3-5 quintals of dry roots and 50 to 75 kg of seeds are produced from 1 hectare of land. Although in some cases this production reaches even 1 ton of root.
Where to sell Ashwagandha roots
Well, wherever you are doing Ashwagandha Cultivation, first of all find opportunities to sell it in the local market. But if your product is not selling in the local market, then Neemuch and Mandsaur are two such markets in Madhya Pradesh which are famous for Ashwagandha not only in India but all over the world. This is the reason why importers from outside countries keep coming to these markets to buy Ashwagandha.
Apart from this, processors, traditional healers, Ayurvedic and Siddha medicine manufacturers also buy Ashwagandha roots in large quantities in the domestic market. Ashwagandha roots can be easily sold in the domestic market also because their production is much less than their demand.
Where to contact for training or information on Ashwagandha cultivation
To get more information on Ashwagandha cultivation and to know about training courses, you can contact various institutes and organizations available across the country. Following is the list of some of the major institutions and organizations.
- National Medicinal Plants Board ISM&H Department under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
- Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants located in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
- Regional Research Laboratory located at Jammu Tawi.
- Agricultural College located in Madhya Pradesh, Indore.
- Utthan Center for Sustainable Development and Poverty Alleviation located in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.
- Agricultural universities located in states such as Jawaharlal Nehru Agricultural University, Madhya Pradesh.
- National Research Center for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants located at Anand, Gujarat.
Ashwagandha Cultivation Even though Ashwagandha cultivation is being done in many states of North India, but even today the production of Ashwagandha roots is not matching its demand. This is the reason why people or various pharmaceutical companies are ready to buy Ashwagandha at high prices. If you are also thinking of cultivating any profitable crop, then you can also consider starting Ashwagandha cultivation.
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