Organic Cultivation - Ginger,
Turmeric & Chillies
(Package of Practices)
farming is a crop production method respecting
the rules of nature. Organic farming is targeted
to produce nutritive, healthy and pollution free
food. It maximises the use of on farm resources
and minimises the use of off-farm resources. It
is a farming system that seeks to avoid the use
of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. It is
not profit oriented but social profit oriented.
Commitment to nature protection is a pre-requisite
for practising organic farming. In organic farming
entire system ie. plant, animal, soil, water and
micro-organism are to be protected.
healthy, nutritious and quality food.
||To encourage and enhance
biological cycles involving microorganisms,
soil flora and fauna, plants and animals.
||To maintain and enhance
long-term fertility of soils.
||To help in soil and
||To maintain genetic
||To minimise all forms
of pollution that may result from agricultural
||To use on farm resources
as far as possible.
||To preserve and enhance
traditional and indigenous knowledge in
farming, seeds and varieties.
||To consider social
and ecological impact of farming system.
applications of pesticides and fertilisers have
caused damage to the soil and environment besides
affecting crop production. Use of pesticides in
the world has registered ten fold increase from
1945 to 1975. About 5.2 million tonnes pesticides-were
sold during 1995 and about two third was used
in developed countries like USA and Europe. Similarly,
fertiliser consumption has also been increased
substantially. In India, about 80,000 tonnes of
pesticides are used. Pesticide residue is the
second largest agent causing cancer, next to cigarettes.
A recent study in US revealed that risk of cancer
due to pesticide is 3 out of 1000 people. Besides,
the pesticides and fertilisers persist in the
soil are harmful to the beneficial soil micro-organism
and earthworms and thereby resulting in degradation
of soil fertility.
farming helps in rejuvenating the degraded soil
and ensure sustainability of crop production.
Common man and farmers are aware of the hazards
from use of chemicals and pesticides. It is a
common practice that farmers maintain part of
their rice fields without pesticide application
for their own consumption. When vegetables are
grown in the Kitchen garden, no chemical fertilisers
or pesticides are used since the house wife knows
that the vegetables are meant for their own consumption.
Now, the consumers are preferring
to consume natural/ethnic foods, particularly
organic foods across the world. Moreover, they
are ready to pay a premium price for such foods.
The demand for organic agricultural products is
increasing day by day.
farming system, certain minimum requirements are
to be met to fulfil its objectives. Then only
the farm is certified as organic.
When a farmer switches over to the system of organic
farming from the conventional system of farming,
it is known as conversion. The time between the
start of organic management and certification
is called conversion period. The farmers should
have a conversion plan prepared if the entire
field is not converted into organic at a time.
In that case it is necessary to maintain organic
and non-organic fields separately. In the long
run the entire form including livestock should
be converted into organic. The conversion period
is decided based on the past use of the land and
ecological situation. Generally, the conversion
period is two years for annual crops and three
years for perennial crops. However, the conversion
period can be relaxed based on the verification
by certification agency if the requirements are
During conversion, steps should
be taken to maintain bio-diversity, viz. swamps,
gross lands, forests, etc.
ii) Mixed farming:
Animal husbandry, poultry, fisheries, etc. should
be practised in addition to agricultural farming.
Shifting cultivation is not allowed.
iii) Cropping Pattern:
Crop rotation should be followed if annual
crops are grown. Intercropping should be practised
when perennial crops are grown. Crop rotation
should cover green manure as well as fodder crops.
In case of perennial crops, cover crops like Kolinji (Tephrosia purpurea)
should be grown to protect the soil. Monocropping
should be avoided.
iv) Planting: Species
and varieties cultivated should be adapted to
soil and climatic condition and resistant to pests
and diseases. Seeds/Planting materials should
be procured from organic source. If not available,
chemically untreated. Seeds/planting materials
can be used one time. Use of genetically engineered
seeds or planting materials such as tissue culture,
pollen culture, transgenic plants is not allowed.
v) Manurial Policy
Soil fertility should be maintained/enhanced through
raising green manure crops, leguminous crops etc.
The residues of plants after harvest should be
incorporated into the soil as far as possible.
Bio-degradable materials of microbial, plant or
animal origin shall be applied as manures. (eq.
compost, vermicompost, farm yard manure, sheep
penning etc.) Use of synthetic/chemical fertilisers
is not permitted. The mineral based materials
like rock phosphate, gypsum, lime, etc. can be
applied in limited quantities when there is absolute
products are permitted for use in manuring/soil
conditioning in organic fields:-
manure, slurry, green manures, crop residues,
straw and other mulches from own farm.
||Saw dust, wood shaving
from untreated wood.
||Calcium chloride, lime
stone, gypsum and chalk.
(Bio-fertilisers), eg. azospirillum, rhizobium.
||Plant preparation and
extracts, eg. neem cake.
technology is given in page No....)
products shall be used when they are absolutely
needed and taking into consideration of factors
like contaminations, depletion of natural resources,
nutritional imbalances, etc. If proposing for
certification, the certification agency may be
consulted before using these inputs.
manure, slurry, urine, straw etc. from other
||Blood meal, bone meal,
fish meal without preservatives
||Minerals like Basic
slag, Sulphate of potash etc.
||Wood ash from untreated
||Vermicompost from other
Pest, Disease and Weed management: Use
of synthetic/chemical pesticides, fungicides and
weedicides is prohibited. Natural enemies shall
be encouraged and protected. (for e.g. raising
trees in the farm attracts birds which kills pests
of the crops, nest construction etc.) Products
collected from the local farm, animals, plants
and micro-organisms and prepared at the farm are
allowed for control of pests and diseases. (eq.
Neem Seed Kernel Extract, cow urine spray). Use
of genetically engineered organisms and products
are prohibited for controlling pests and diseases.
Similarly, use of synthetic growth regulators
is not permitted.
Slash weeding is to be done between
the plants. Weeds under the base of the plants
shall be cleaned and put as mulch around the plant
base. The weeded materials should be applied as
mulch in the ground itself.
that are permitted for control of pest & diseases
and other neem preparations like Neem Seed
||Plant based repellants
products shall be used when they are absolutely
necessary and taking environmental impact into
consideration. The certification agency shall
be consulted before using these inputs.
salts e.g. Bordeaux Mixture
||Plant & animal
preparations e.g. Cow urine spray, Garlic
extract, Chilli extract
||Light mineral oils
||Release of parasite
predators of insect pests e.g. Trichogramma
||Viral, fungal and bacterial
preparations (bio-pesticides) eg. NPV, Trichoderma
Soil and water conservation: Measures
like stone pitching/contour wall construction
are to be taken up to prevent soil erosion. In
case of saline soils, saline resistant varieties
may be grown. Judicious irrigation is to be practised.
Mulching is required. Pollution of surface and
ground water shall be prevented. Clearing of primary
forest is prohibited. Cleaning of land through
straw burning should be restricted to minimum.
viii) Contamination control:
It is necessary to take the following measures
to minimise the contamination from outside and
a) If neighbouring fields are non-organic, a buffer
zone should be maintained. The height of buffer
crop shall be twice the height of organic crop
and the width of the buffer shall be 25-50 feet.
(When chilli is grown as the main organic crop,
castor or Agathi (Sesbania) can be grown as buffer
crop. The crops from the buffer zone should be
sold as non-organic).
b) If the farm is under conversion, equipments
used for conventional areas shall be well cleaned
before using for organic areas.
c) Products based on polythene, polypropylene
and other polycarbonates are allowed to cover
protected structure, insect netting, nursery,
drying, etc. subject to the condition that these
materials shall be removed from the field after
use and they shall not be burnt or put in the soil.
Use of polychloride based products like PVC pipe
Processing technologies like solar drying, freeze
drying, hot air chambers are permitted. Irradiation
of agricultural produce is not permitted. No synthetic
additives/days are to be added during processing.
The label should convey clear accurate information
on the organic status of the product. (i.e. conversion
in progress or organic). The labels for organic
and conversion in progress products should be
distinguishable by different coloured labels.
The details like name of the product, quantity
of the product, name and address of the producer,
name of certification agency, certification, lot
number etc. are to be given in the label.
Lot number is helpful in tracing
back the product particularly the field no. in
which it is grown in case of contamination. Lot
no. should include the crop, country, field no,
date of harvest (in Julian Calendar) and production
year. The Julian Calendar is ranging from 1 to
365 or 366, starting 1st January, as I and December
31st as 365/366.
|OC (organic chillies)
Date of harvest
|32 (1 st Feb)
OC 1 0532 1999.
Packaging: For packing, recycling and
reusable materials like clean jute bags, shall
be used. Use of bio-degradable materials shall
also be used. Unnecessary packaging material should
be avoided. Organic and non-organic products shall
not be stored and transported together except
xii) Social Justice:
Social right and justice are integral part of
organic agriculture. The laws relating to labour
welfare and rights of children should be honoured.
All employees and their families should have access
to potable water, food, housing, education, transportation
and health services. All employees should have
equal wages when doing same job. They must have
equal opportunities irrespective of colour, creed
and gender. Social security needs (include maternity,
sickness and retirement benefits) should be met.
Labour conditions regarding noise, dust, light
and exposure to chemicals should be within acceptable
limits; and they should have adequate protection.
The rights of indigenous people should be respected.
Documentation of farm activities is must for acquiring
certification especially when both conventional
and organic crops are raised. The following documents/records
are to be maintained.
|g) Storage record
b) Field history sheet
|h) Sales record
c) Activity register
|i) Pest control records
d) Input record
|j) Movement record
e) Output record
|k) Equipments cleaning records
f) Harvest record
|l) Labelling records.
of organic farms is required to satisfy the consumers
that the produce is totally organic. Certification
agency conducts the inspection that minimum requirements
prescribed for organic agriculture is fully met
and issues certificate.
The producer makes contact with
certifying agency. Certification agency provides
information on standards, fees, application, inspection,
certification and appeal procedures. The producer
then submits application along with field history,
form map, record keeping system etc. Then the
contract indicating scope, obligation, inspection
and certification, sanction and appeals, duration,
fee structure is executed.
Then the Inspector of agency
comes and carries out inspection. The Inspector
gives inspection report with his recommendation
to the agency, Then the agency issues approval
or denial of certificate. Certificate is given
for current year's harvest only and hence annual
certification is required.
(Zingiber officinale) is one of the important
spices grown in India. Ginger of commerce is the
dried rhizome. It is marketed in different forms
such as raw ginger, dry ginger, bleached dry ginger,
ginger powder, ginger oil, ginger oleoresin, gingerale,
ginger candy, ginger beer, brined ginger, ginger
wine, ginger squash, ginger flakes etc.
is cultivated in almost all states in India. 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. It is mainly cultivated in the
tropics from sea level to an altitude of above
1500 MSL and it can be grown both under rainfed
and irrigated conditions. For successful cultivation
of the crop, 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 best in well
drained soils like sandy or clay loam, red loam
or lateritic loam. A friable loam rich in humus
is ideal. However, being an exhausting crop it
may not be desirable to grow ginger in the same
site year after year.
to cultivate ginger organically, a buffer zone
of 25 to 50 feet is to be left all around from
the conventional farm, depending upon the location
of the farm. The produce from this buffer zone
belt shall not be treated as organic. Being an
annual crop, the conversion period required will
be two years. Ginger can be cultivated organically
as an inter or mixed crop provided all the other
crops are grown following organic methods. It
is desirable to include a leguminous crop in rotation
with ginger. Ginger-banana-legume or ginger-vegetable-legume
can be adopted.
preserved seed rhizomes free from pests and diseases
which are collected from organically cultivated
farms can be used for planting. However, to begin
with seed material from high yielding local varieties
may be used in the absence of organically produced
seed materials. Seed rhizomes should not be treated
with any chemicals. The seed rate varies from
region to region and with method of cultivation
adopted. The seed rate varies from 1500- 2500
kg per hectare.
preparing the land, minimum tillage operations
may be adopted. Beds of 15 cm height, I m width
and of convenient length may be prepared giving
at least 50 cm spacing between beds. Solarisation
of the beds is beneficial in checking the multiplication
of pests and disease causing organisms. Solarisation
is a technique by which polythene sheets are covered
over moist beds of the field, reaching all the
sides and exposing to sun for a period of 20-30
days. The polythene sheets used for soil solarisation
should be kept away safely after the work is completed.
At the time of planting, apply
25g powdered neem cake and mix well with the soil
in each pit taken at a spacing of 20-25 cm within
and between rows. Seed rhizomes may be put in
shallow pits and mixed with well rotten cattle
manure or compost mixed with Trichoderma, an antagonistic
(Parasitic) fungi (10g compost inoculated with
Trichoderma). The best time for planting in West
Coast is during the first fortnight of May with
the receipt of monsoon showers. Under irrigated
conditions, it can be planted well in advance
during the middle of February or early March.
the ginger beds with green leaves is an essential
operation to enhance germination of seed rhizomes
and to prevent washing off of soil due to heavy
rain. This also helps to add organic matter to
the soil and conserve moisture during the later
part of the cropping seasons. The first mulching
is to be done with green leaves @ 10-12 t/ha at
the time of planting. It is to be repeated @ 5
t/ha at 40th and 90th day after planting. Use
of "Lantana camara" and Vitex negundo
as mulch may reduce the infestation of shoot borer.
Cow dung slurry or liquid manure may be poured
on the bed after each mulching to enhance microbial
activity and nutrient availability. Weeding may
be carried out depending on the intensity of weed
growth. Such materials may be used for mulching.
Proper drainage channels are to be provided in
the inter rows to drain off stagnant water.
of well rotten cow dung or compost @ 5-6 t/ha
may be made as a basal dose while planting the
rhizomes in the pits. In addition, application
of neem cake @ 2 t/ha is also desirable.
borer is the major pest infesting ginger. Regular
field surveillance and adoption of phytosanitary
measures are necessary for pest management. It
appears during July -October period. Spot out
the shoots infested by the borer and cut open
the shoot and pick out the caterpillar and destroy.
Spray neem oil (0.5%) at fortnightly intervals
if found necessary. Light traps will be useful
in attracting and collecting the adult moths.
or rhizome rot is a major disease of ginger. While
selecting the area for ginger cultivation care
should be taken to see that the area is well drained
as water stagnation pre- disposes the plants to
infection. Hence provide adequate drainage. Select
seed rhizomes from disease free areas since this
disease is seed borne. Solarisation of soil done
at the time of bed preparation can reduce the
fungus inoculum. However, if the disease is noticed,
the affected clumps are to be removed carefully
along with the soil surrounding the rhizome to
reduce the spread. Trichoderma may be applied
at the time of planting and subsequently if necessary.
Restricted use of Bordeaux mixture
(1%) in disease prone areas may be made to control
it as spot application.
is ready to harvest in about eight to ten months
depending upon the maturity of the variety. When
fully mature leaves turn yellow and start drying
up gradually. Clumps are lifted carefully with
a spade or digging fork and rhizomes are separated
from dried leaves, roots and adhering soil. The
average yield of fresh ginger per hectare varies
with varieties ranging from 15 to 25 tonnes.
For making vegetable ginger,
harvesting is done from the 6th month onwards.
The rhizomes are thoroughly washed in water twice
or thrice after harvest and sun-dried for a day.
For preparing dry ginger the
produce is kept soaked in water overnight. Rhizomes
are then rubbed well to clean them. After cleaning,
rhizomes are removed from the water and the outer
skin is removed with a bamboo splinter or wooden
knife having pointed ends. Iron knife is not recommended,
as colour will fade. In order to get rid of
the last bit of the skin or dirt, the dry rhizomes
are rubbed together. The peeled rhizomes are washed
and dried in the sun uniformly for one week. Rhizomes
are to be dried to a moisture level of 11% and
they are stored properly to avoid infestation
by storage pests. Storage of dry ginger for longer
periods is not desirable. The yield of dry ginger
is 16-25 percent of the fresh ginger depending
upon the variety and location where the crop is
Burning of sulphur for processing
ginger is not allowed.
to be used as seed material should be preserved
carefully. The indigenous practices like spreading
layers of leaves of Glycosmis pentaphylla being
followed by farmers can very well be adopted for
this purpose. In order to get good germination,
the seed rhizomes are to be stored properly in
pits under shade. For seed materials, big and
healthy rhizomes from disease-free plants are
selected immediately after harvest. For this purpose,
healthy and disease-free clumps are marked in
the field when the crop is 68 months old and still
green. Seed rhizomes are stored in pits of convenient
size made inside the shed to protect from the
sun and rain. Walls of the pits may be coated
with cow dung paste. Seed rhizomes are stored
in these pits in layers along with well-dried
sand/saw dust (i.e. put one layer of seed rhizomes,
then put 2 cm thick layer of sand/saw dust). Sufficient
gap is to be left at the top of the pits for adequate
aeration. Seed rhizomes in pits need inspection
once in twenty days to remove shrivelled and disease
affected rhizomes. Seed rhizomes can also be stored
in pits dug in the ground under the shade of a
tree provided there is no chance for water to
enter the pits. In some areas, the rhizomes are
loosely heaped over a layer of sand or paddy husk
and covered with dry leaves in a thatched shed.