Ginger cultivation / Ginger farming in India


Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) (Family: Zingiberaceae) is a herbaceous perennial, the rhizomes of which are used as a spice. India is a leading producer of ginger in the world.During 2012-13 the country produced 7.45 lakh tons of the spice from an area of 157839 hectares. Ginger is cultivated in most of the states in India. However, states namely Karnataka, Orissa, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Gujarat together contribute 65 percent to the country’s total production.

Climate and soil requirement for Ginger cultivation

Ginger grows well in warm and humid climate and is cultivated from sea level to an altitude of 1500 m above sea level. Ginger can be grown both under rainfed and irrigated conditions. For successful cultivation of the crop, a moderate rainfall at 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 loam, clay loam, red loam or lateritic loam. A friable loam with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5 rich in humus is ideal. However, being an exhausting crop, it is not desirable to grow ginger in the same soil year after year. The crop performs well in a temperature range of 19°C- 28°C and a humidity of 70-90%.

Varieties of Ginger

Several cultivars of ginger are grown in different ginger growing areas in India, and they are named after the localities where they are grown. Some of the prominent indigenous cultivars are Maran, Kuruppampadi, Ernad, Wayanad, Himachal and Nadia. The exotic cultivar ‘Rio-de-Janeiro’ have also become very popular among cultivators. The improved varieties of ginger and their salient features are given in Table 1. The variety IISR Varada is suited for fresh ginger, dry ginger and making candy while, IISR Rejatha is rich in essential oil.


The best time for planting ginger in the 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. Early planting with the receipt of summer showers during February-March results in higher yield and reduces disease incidence.

Improved varieties of ginger

VarietyFresh meanMaturityDryCrudeOleoresinEssential yield (t/ha)(days)recovery fibres(%)oil   (%)(%) (%)  ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kozhikode – 673 012, Kerala   IISR Varada22.620020. Mahima23.220023. Rejatha22.420019.   High Altitude Research Station, Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Pottangi – 764 039, Orissa           Suprabha16.622920.    Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, well-decomposedNauni, Solan, Himachal Pradesh – 173 230            Himagiri13.523020.   Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur – 680 656, Kerala    Athira21.0220-24022.


Land preparation for Ginger

The land is to be ploughed 4 to 5 times or dug thoroughly with receipt of early summer showers to bring the soil to the fine tilth. Beds of about 1 m width, 30 cm height and of convenient length are prepared with an inter-space of 50 cm in between beds. In the case of irrigated crop, ridges are formed 40 cm apart. In areas prone to rhizome rot disease and nematode infestations, solarization of beds for 40 days using transparent polythene sheets is recommended.


Ginger is propagated by portions of rhizomes known as seed rhizomes. Carefully preserved seed rhizomes are cut into small pieces of 2.5-5.0 cm length weighing 20-25 g each having one or two good buds. The seed rate varies from region to region and with the method of cultivation adopted. In Kerala, the seed rate varies from 1500 to 1800 kg/ha. At higher altitudes, the seed rate may vary from 2000 to 2500 kg/ha. The seed rhizomes are treated with mancozeb 0.3% (3 g/L of water) for 30 minutes, shade dried for 3-4 hours and planted at a spacing of 20-25 cm along the rows and 20-25 cm between the rows. The seed rhizome bits are placed in shallow pits prepared with a hand hoe and well-decomposed farm yard manure and a thin layer of soil and leveled.


Transplanting technology for reduction of seed cost of Ginger

Though transplanting in ginger is not conventional, it is found profitable. A transplanting technique in ginger by using single bud sprouts (about 5 g) has been standardized to produce good quality planting material with reduced cost. The yield level of ginger transplants is on-par with conventional planting system. The technique involves raising transplants from single sprout seed rhizomes in the pro-tray and planted in the field after 30-40 days. The advantages of this technology are the production of healthy planting materials and reduction in seed rhizome quantity and eventually reduced cost on planting material.


  • Select healthy ginger rhizomes for seed purpose.
  • Treat the selected rhizomes with mancozeb (0.3%) and quinalphos (0.075%) for 30 min and store in well-ventilated place
  • One month before planting, the seed rhizomes are cut into single buds with a small piece of rhizomes weighing 4-6 g.
  • Treat the single bud sprouts (mancozeb 0.3%) for 30 min before
  • Fill the pro-trays (98 well) with nursery medium containing partially decomposed coir pith and vermicompost (75:25), enriched with PGPR/Trichoderma 10g/kg of mixture.
  • Plant the ginger bud sprouts in pro-trays.
  • Provide partial shade to the pro-trays by keeping them in shade nets or under the shade of trees.
  • Adopt need-based irrigation with rose can or by using suitable
  • Seedlings will be ready within 30-40 days for transplanting.

Manuring of Ginger

At the time of planting, well-decomposed cattle manure or compost @ 25-30 tons/ha has to be applied either by broadcasting over the beds before planting or applied in the pits at the time of planting. Application of neem cake @ 2 tons/ha at the time of planting helps in reducing the incidence of rhizome rot disease/ nematode and increasing the yield.

Soil test based fertilizer recommendation

Soil test value for available nutrient (kg/ha)

Fertilizer nutrient recommended for yield targets.

            25 t/th     30 t/ha
Nitrogen < 150





250                                               340

180                                               270

90                                                 175

–                                                      50


Phosphorus (P2 O5)


< 10



> 50



55                                                75

35                                                 55

15                                                  25

–                                                5-10



Potassium (K2O)


   < 110




100                                             130

75                                               100

35                                                 50

5                                                   15



Mulching the beds with green leaves/ organic wastes is essential to prevent soil splashing and erosion of soil due to heavy rain. It also adds organic matter to the soil, checks weed emergence and conserves moisture during the latter part of the cropping season. The first mulching is done at the time of planting with green leaves @ 10-12 tons/ha. Application of dried coconut leaves after removing the midrib or paddy straw (2-3 kg/bed) as mulch in ginger is also recommended for effective weed control. Green leaf mulching is to be repeated @ 7.5 tons/ha at 45 and 90 days after planting, immediately after weeding, application of fertilizers and earthing up.

Irrigation of Ginger

Ginger is cultivated as a rainfed crop in high rainfall areas (uniform distribution for 5 to 7 months) and irrigated crop in fewer rainfall areas where distribution is not uniform. Ginger requires 1300-1500 mm of water during its crop cycle. The critical stages for irrigation are during germination, rhizome initiation (90 DAP) and rhizome development stages (135 DAP). The first irrigation should be done immediately after planting, and subsequent irrigations are given at intervals of 7 to 10 days in conventional irrigation (based on prevailing weather and soil type). Sprinklers and drip system can also be employed for better water use efficiency and enhanced yield.


Weeding is done just before fertilizer application and mulching; 2-3 hand weddings are required depending on the intensity of weed growth. Proper drainage channels are to be provided when there is stagnation of water.

Earthing up is essential to prevent exposure of rhizomes and provide sufficient soil volume for the free development of rhizomes. It is done at 45 and 90 days after planting immediately after weeding and application of fertilizers.

Intercropping and crop rotation

Crop rotation is followed by ginger. The crops most commonly rotated with ginger are tapioca, ragi, paddy, gingelly, maize, and vegetables. In Karnataka, ginger is also mix cropped with ragi, red gram, and castor. Ginger is also grown as an intercrop in coconut, areca nut, coffee and orange plantations in Kerala and Karnataka. However, crop rotation using tomato, potato, chillies, brinjal, and peanut should be avoided, as these plants are hosts for the wilt causing organism, Ralstonia solanacearum.

Insect pests management in Ginger

1. Shoot borer

The shoot borer (Conogethes punctiferalis) is the most serious insect pest of ginger. The larvae bore into pseudostems and feed on internal tissues resulting in yellowing and drying of leaves of infested pseudostems. The presence of a bore-hole on the pseudostem through which frass is extruded and the withered and yellow central shoot is a characteristic symptom of pest infestation. The adult is a medium-sized moth with a wingspan of about 20 mm; the wings are orange-yellow with minute black spots. Fully-grown larvae are light brown with sparse hairs. The pest population is higher in the field during September-October.

The shoot borer can be managed by spraying malathion (0.1%) at 21-day intervals during July to October. The spraying is to be initiated when the first symptom of pest attack is seen on the top most leaf in the form of feeding marks on the margins on the pseudostem. An integrated strategy involving pruning and destroying freshly infested pseudostems during July-August (at fortnightly intervals) and spraying malathion (0.1%) during September-October (at monthly intervals) is also effective against the pest.

2. Rhizome scale

The rhizome scale (Aspidiella hartii) infests rhizomes in the field (at later stages) and storage. Adult (female) scales are circular (about 1 mm diameter) and light brown to grey and appear as encrustations on the rhizomes. They feed on sap, and when the rhizomes are severely infested, they become shriveled and desiccated affecting its germination.

The rhizome scale can be managed by timely harvest, discarding severely infested rhizomes, and treating the seed rhizomes with quinalphos (0.075%) (for 20-30 minutes) before storage and also before sowing in case the infestation persists. The seed rhizome may be stored in sawdust + Strychnos nuxvomica leaves (dried) after seed treatment.

3. Minor pests

Larvae of leaf roller cut and fold leaves and feed on within, and are seen during the monsoon season. The adults are medium-sized butterflies with brownish black wings with white spots; the larvae are dark green. The control measures were undertaken against the shoot borer (spraying of malathion 0.1%) is adequate for the management of the pest.

Root grubs (Holotrichia spp.) occasionally feed on tender rhizomes, roots, and base of pseudostems causing yellowing and wilting of shoots. The pest can be controlled by drenching the soil around the rhizomes with chloropyriphos (0.075%).

Organic production

Conversion plan

For certified organic production of ginger, at least 18 months the crop should be under organic management i.e. only the second crop of ginger can be sold as organic. The conversion period may be relaxed if the organic farm is being established on a land where chemicals were not previously used, provided sufficient proof of history of the area be available. It is desirable that organic method of production is followed in the entire farm; but in the case of the large extent of area, the transition can be done in a phased manner for which a conversion plan has to be prepared.

Ginger as a best component crop in agri-horti and silvi-horti systems, recycling of farm waste can be effectively done when grown with coconut, areca nut, mango, Leucaena, young rubber plantation, etc. As a mixed crop, it can also be grown or rotated with green manure/ legumes crops or trap crops enabling effective nutrient built up and pest or disease control. When grown in a mixed cultivation system, it is essential that all the crops in the field are also subjected to organic methods of production.

Avoiding contamination of organically cultivated plots from neighboring non-organic farms

To avoid contamination of organically cultivated plots from neighboring non-organic farms, a suitable buffer zone with definite border is to be maintained. In smallholder groups, where the holdings are contiguous, the isolation belt is needed at the outer periphery of the entire group of holdings. Ginger grown on this isolation belt cannot be treated as organic. In sloppy lands adequate precaution should be taken to avoid the entry of runoff water and chemical drift from the neighboring farms. Proper soil and water conservation measures by making conservation pits in the interspaces of beds across the slope have to be followed to minimize the erosion and runoff. Water stagnation has to be avoided in the low-lying fields by taking deep trenches for drainage.

Management practices

For organic production, traditional varieties adapted to the local soil and climatic conditions that are resistant or tolerant to diseases, pests and nematode infection should be used. All crop residues and farm wastes like green loppings, crop residues, grasses, cow dung slurry, poultry droppings, etc. available on the farm can be recycled through composting, including vermicomposting so that soil fertility is maintained at high level. No synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides or fungicides are allowed under organic system. Farmyard manure may be applied @ 25-30 t/ha along with vermi compost @ 4 t/ha and mulching with green leaves @ 12-15 t/ha at 45 days intervals. Further, supplementation of oil cakes like neem cake (2 t/ha), composted coir pith (5 t/ha) and suitable microbial cultures of Azospirillum and phosphate solubilizing bacteria will improve the fertility and yield.

Application of PGPR strain of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (GRB 35) is also recommended for growth promotion and disease control. Based on a soil test, application of lime/dolomite, rock phosphate, and wood ash may be done to get required quantity of phosphorus and potassium. When the deficient conditions of trace elements become yield limiting, restricted use of foliar application of micronutrient mixture specific to ginger is recommended (dosage @ 5 g/L) twice, 60 and 90 DAP, for higher yield as per the limits of standard setting or certifying organizations.

Use of biocontrol agents, cultural and phytosanitary measures for the management of insect pests and diseases forms the main strategy under organic system. An integrated strategy involving pruning and destroying freshly infested shoots during July-August (at fortnightly intervals) and spraying Neemgold 0.5% or Neem oil 0.5% during September-October (at 21-day intervals) is effective against the shoot borer.

Selection of healthy rhizomes, soil solarization, and incorporation of Trichoderma, seed treatment and soil application of biocontrol agents like Trichoderma, PGPR or Pseudomonas multiplied in suitable carrier media such as coir pith compost, well rotten cow dung or quality neem cake may be done at the time of sowing and at regular intervals to keep the rhizome rot disease in check. To control other foliar diseases spraying of Bordeaux mixture 1% may be done restricting the quantity to 8 kg copper per hectare per annum. Application of quality neem cake mentioned earlier along with the bioagents Pochonia chlamydosporia will be useful to check the nematode population.


Certification and labeling are usually done by an independent body to provide a guarantee that the production standards are met. Govt. of India has taken steps to have indigenous certification system to help small and marginal growers and to issue valid organic certificates through certifying agencies accredited by APEDA. The inspectors appointed by the certification agencies will carry out an inspection of the farm operations through records maintained and by periodic site inspections. Documentation of farm activities is must for acquiring the certification, especially when both conventional and organic crops are raised. Group certification programs are also available for an organized group of producers and processors with similar production systems located in geographical proximity.

Harvesting of Ginger

Ginger attains full maturity in 210-240 days after planting. Harvesting of ginger for vegetable purpose starts after 180 days based on the demand. However, for making dry ginger, the matured rhizomes are harvested at full maturity i.e. when the leaves turn yellow and start drying. Irrigation is stopped one month before harvest, and the rhizome clumps are lifted carefully with a spade or digging fork. In large scale cultivations, tractor or power tiller drew harvesters are also used. The dry leaves, roots and soil adhering on the rhizomes are manually separated. Late harvest is also practiced, as the crop does not deteriorate by leaving it for some months underground. In India, domestic market prefers fresh green ginger for culinary use while two types of dried ginger

The dry leaves, roots and soil adhering on the rhizomes are manually separated. Late harvest is also practiced, as the crop does not deteriorate by leaving it for some months underground. In India, domestic market prefers fresh green ginger for culinary use while two types of dried ginger i.e. bleached and unbleached are produced for the export purpose. The most important criteria for assessing the suitability of ginger rhizomes for particular processing purposes is the fiber content, volatile-oil content and the pungency level. The relative abundance of these three components in the fresh rhizome is governed by its state of maturity at harvest.

Stage of harvest of ginger for various end uses

End Use Stage of Harvest

(months after planting)

Vegetable purpose and preparation of ginger preserve, candy, soft drinks, pickles and alcoholic beverages 5-6
Dried ginger and preparation of ginger oil, oleoresin, dehydrated and bleached ginger 7-8


Processing of ginger

Processing of ginger to produce dry ginger involves two stages-peeling of the ginger rhizomes to remove the outer skin and the sun drying to a safe moisture level.


It serves to remove the scaly epidermis and facilitate drying. Peeling of fully matured rhizomes is done by scraping the outer skin with bamboo splits having pointed ends, and this accelerates the drying process. Deep scraping with knifes should be avoided to prevent the damage of oil-bearing cells which are present just below the outer skin. Excessive peeling will result in the reduction of essential oil content of the dried produce. The peeled rhizomes are washed before drying. The dry ginger so obtained is valued for its aroma, flavour, and pungency.

Indian dried gingers are usually rough peeled when compared to Jamaican gingers, which are clean peeled. The rhizomes are peeled only on the flat sides, and much of the skin in between the fingers remains intact. The dry ginger so produced is known as the rough peeled, or unbleached ginger and bulk of the ginger produced in Kerala are of this quality.


The moisture content of fresh ginger at harvest is about 80-82% which is brought down up to 10% for its safe storage. Ginger is sun dried in a single layer in open yard which takes about 8 to 10 days for complete drying. The sun dried ginger is brown in color with the irregular wrinkled surface. The yield of dry ginger is about 19-25% of fresh ginger depending on the variety and climatic zone.

Polishing, cleaning, and grading

Polishing of dried ginger is done to remove the dry skin and the wrinkles developed on the surface during the drying process. It is done by rubbing against a hard surface. Cleaning of dry ginger is done manually to remove the extraneous matter and the light pieces. Once the ginger is cleaned, and it is graded manually based on the size of the rhizome, its color, shape and the extent of residual lime (in the case of bleached ginger).


Dry ginger, packaged in gunny bags are highly susceptible to infestation by insects like Lasioderma serricone (cigarette beetle) during storage. Fully dried rhizomes can be stored in airtight containers such as high-density polyethylene or similar packaging materials. Long term storage for more than two years would result in deterioration of its aroma, flavour, and pungency.

Bleached Ginger

Bleached Ginger is produced by dipping scrapped fresh ginger in a slurry of slaked lime, Ca(OH)2, (1 kg of slaked lime/120 kg of water) followed by sun drying. As the water adhering to the rhizomes dry, the ginger is again dipped in the slurry. This process is repeated until the rhizomes become uniformly white in color. Dry ginger can also be bleached by the similar process. Liming gives ginger a better appearance and less susceptibility to the attack of insect pests during storage and shipping.




“ginger – Indian Institute of Spices Research.” ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May. 2017 <>.


ginger – Indian Institute of Spices Research. (n.d.). Retrieved from

  • ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kozhikode, Kerala
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