Cardamom Research Institute
is considered as the home of cardamom. Generously
endowed with agriculturally important resource
base, India offers ideal conditions for
the cultivation of cardamom. Indian cardamom
is one of the exotic and highly prized spices.
Special cultivation and processing methods
combine to make Indian cardamom truly unique
in aroma, flavour, size and colour- tempting
parrot-green. There are two types of cardamom
grown in India, viz. small and large cardamom.
The small cardamom (Elettaria
cardamomum Maton), also known as the ‘Queen
of Spices’, is one of the most sought
after spices in the international market.
It is mainly grown in the Western Ghats.
Kerala accounts for 60 per cent of the cultivation
and production, followed by Karnataka (30%)
and Tamil Nadu (10%). It requires humid
and moderately cool climate, filtered sunlight
(50%) obtained from tree canopy, humus rich
soil, well-distributed rainfall, and protection
from heavy winds for higher productivity.
Majority of the small cardamom growing landholdings
belong to small and marginal category. It
is mainly used for flavouring various food
preparations, confectionary, perfumery,
beverages and liquors. It is also used for
medicinal purpose, both in allopathic an
ayurvedic systems. In the Middle East countries,
it is mainly used for the preparation of
‘Gahwa’ (cardamom flavoured
coffee). The major commercial grades of
small cardamom are Small, Bold, Extra Bold
and Super Bold. Till recently, India was
the main producer and exporter of small
cardamom. Of late, Guatemala has emerged
as a keen competitor in the international
There are essentially three major cultivars
of small cardamom, as under:
cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb.), also know as
‘Black Cardamom’, is the dried fruit
of a perennial herbaceous plant cultivated in
the sub-Himalayan tract of Sikkim and Darjeeling
district of west Bengal. Its quality characteristics
are different from that of small cardamom. It
is mostly valued for its acceptable taste, flavour
and aroma. It is used in rice preparations and
meat dishes, besides a wide range of beverages
and sweets. India is the main producer and exporter
of large cardamom. There is preference for scientifically
cured quality large cardamom with purple colour.
The major commercial grades of large cardamom
are Badadana and Chottadana.
Division: Germplasm management and development
of improved varieties rests with this Division.
||Agronomy and Soil Science
Division: Development of various management
practices is the major responsibility of this
||Plant Pathology Division:
This Division is engaged in developing appropriate
methods to control various diseases.
|| Entomology Division:
Identification and control of major pests
are the major responsibility of this Division.
Division: In the absence of regular staff,
the post-harvest technology related activities
of the Division are undertaken by the scientists
from other Subject Matter Divisions.
|| Transfer of Technology
Division: As is the case with Post-harvest
Technology Division, all technology transfer
activities are carried out by the scientists
from other Divisions.
support to all these Divisions are provided by
various Sections, viz. Statistics and Computer,
Library and Information, Farm, Engineering, and
the small size, in terms of scientific manpower,
research at all the three Regional Research Stations
is not organized Division-wise. The Biotechnology
Laboratory at the Headquarters of Spices Board
in Kochi was part of the Crop Improvement Division
till 2005. It was upgraded later as the Biotechnology
Division to undertake research programmes as well
as large-scale tissue culture plantlet production.
It operates within the research budget of ICRI.
The Quality Evaluation Laboratory also located
at the Headquarters of Spices Board in Kochi has
a separate budget head. At present, this Laboratory
does not undertake any research and it only caters
to the needs of quality certification of spices,
including cardamom, exported from the country.
primary mandate of ICRI is to develop sustainable
production, protection and post-harvest technologies
for small and large cardamom. Its activities have
recently been expanded to cover comprehensive
research studies on vanilla and export-oriented
adaptive research programmes on other spices such
as black pepper, ginger, turmeric, chilli, tree
spices, herbal spices, paprika seed spices, and
minor spices. The current emphasis is on evolving
agro-techniques for the production of organic
spices by integrating biocontrol and eco-friendly
nutritional management of spices. The specific
mandate of ICRI is enumerated below:
these mandated activities of ICRI are implemented
by the scientists from all its Research Stations,
including the Biotechnology Division at the Headquarters
of Spices Board in Kochi, through a variety of
subject matter-oriented research projects. Some
of the research projects, particularly the project
on ‘Collection, conservation and evaluation
of germplasm of cardamom’, are jointly undertaken
by the scientists across the Research Stations.
Different Divisions at the Myladumpara Main Station,
as well as the Biotechnology Division at Kochi,
undertake research on specifically identified thrust
areas, as under: