Sunday, September 16, 2012

Aloe Vera Cultivation



Scientific classification
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Kingdom       : Plantae
clade              : Angiosperms
clade              : Monocots
Order             : Asparagales
Family            : Xanthorrhoeaceae
Subfamily        : Asphodeloideae
Genus             : Aloe
Species           : A. vera
Binomial name : Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f.
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Aloe Vera

Aloe (Aloe vera ) is an important and traditional medicinal plant belonging to the family Liliaceae. It is indigenous to Africa and Mediterranean countries. The species does not have any naturally occurring populations, although closely related aloes do occur in northern Africa .However,It is reported to grow wild on islands of Cyprus, Malta, Sicily, Carary cape, Cape Verde and arid tracts of India. This is a hardy perennial tropical plant that can be cultivated in drought areas. But its potential is yet to be exploited. Aloe, despite being identified as 'a new plant resource with the most promising prospects in the world', remains a disregarded plant. It is scattered in the wild, along the coast of southern India. China, U.S.A., Mexico, Australia and some of the Latin American countries are the major producers and exporters of aloe products. These countries are exploiting the plant potential with the growing cosmetic and neutraceutical market.

The species is frequently cited as being used in herbal medicine since the beginning of the first century AD. Extracts from A. vera are widely used in the cosmetics and alternative medicine industries, being marketed as variously having rejuvenating, healing or soothing properties. There is, however, little scientific evidence of the effectiveness or safety of A. vera extracts for either cosmetic or medicinal purposes, and what positive evidence is available is frequently contradicted by other studies. Medical uses of aloe vera are being investigated as well.  Aloe can substitute synthetic ingredient used in cosmetic industry very competitively and is finding increasing use in the ever growing consumer product segment.

In India, aloe is cultivated in Alwar in Rajasthan, Satanapalli in Andhra Pradesh, Rajpipla in Gujarat and some parts of Tamil Nadu.

Introduction

Common Names: Aloe vera, Aloe, Lily of the desert, Burn plant, Elephant's gall

Latin Names: Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis

Aloe vera's use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the "plant of immortality," aloe was presented as a burial gift to deceased pharaohs. Native to Northern Africa, Aloe vera (syn. A. barbadensis Mill., A. vulgaris Lam.) is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 80–100 cm tall, spreading by offsets and root sprouts. The leaves are lanceolate, thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with a serrated margin. The flowers are produced on a spike up to 90 cm tall, each flower pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2–3 cm long. Clinical evealuations have revealed that the pharmacological active ingredients are concentrated in both the gel and rind of the aloe vera leaves. These active ingredients have been shown to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.


Description

Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 60–100 cm (24–39 in) tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on the upper and lower stem surfaces. The margin of the leaf is serrated and has small white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 90 cm (35 in) tall, each flower being pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) long. Like other Aloe species, Aloe vera forms arbuscular mycorrhiza, a symbiosis that allows the plant better access to mineral nutrients in soil.

Taxonomy and etymology

The species has a number of synonyms: A. barbadensis Mill., Aloe indica Royle, Aloe perfoliata L. var. vera and A. vulgaris Lam. Common names include Chinese Aloe, Indian Aloe, True Aloe, Barbados Aloe, Burn Aloe, First Aid Plant. The species epithet vera means "true" or "genuine". Some literature identifies the white spotted form of Aloe vera as Aloe vera var. chinensis; however, the species varies widely with regard to leaf spots and it has been suggested that the spotted form of Aloe vera may be conspecific with A. massawana.

Techniques based on DNA comparison suggest that Aloe vera is relatively closely related to Aloe perryi, a species that is endemic to Yemen. Similar techniques, using chloroplast DNA sequence comparison and ISSR profiling have also suggested that Aloe vera is closely related to Aloe forbesii, Aloe inermis, Aloe scobinifolia, Aloe sinkatana, and Aloe striata. With the exception of the South African species A. striata, these Aloe species are native to Socotra (Yemen), Somalia, and Sudan. The lack of obvious natural populations of the species have led some authors to suggest that Aloe vera may be of hybrid origin.

Distribution

The natural range of Aloe vera is unclear, as the species has been widely cultivated throughout the world. Naturalised stands of the species occur in the southern half of the Arabian peninsula, through North Africa (Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt) as well as Sudan and neighbouring countries, along with the Canary, Cape Verde, and Madeira Islands. This distribution is somewhat similar to the one of Euphorbia balsamifera, Pistacia atlantica, and a few others, suggesting that a dry sclerophyl forest once covered large areas, but has been dramatically reduced due to desertification in the Sahara, leaving these few patches isolated. Several closely related (or sometimes identical) species can be found on the two extreme sides of the Sahara: Dragon trees (Dracaena) and Aeonium being two of the most representative examples.

The species was introduced to China and various parts of southern Europe in the 17th century. The species is widely naturalised elsewhere, occurring in temperate and tropical regions of Australia, Barbados, Belize, Nigeria, Paraguay and the United States It has been suggested that the actual species' distribution is the result of human cultivation.

Cultivation

Aloe vera has been widely grown as an ornamental plant. The species is popular with modern gardeners as a putatively medicinal plant and due to its interesting flowers, form, and succulence. This succulence enables the species to survive in areas of low natural rainfall, making it ideal for rockeries and other low-water use gardens. The species is hardy in zones 8–11, although it is
 
intolerant of very heavy frost or snow. The species is relatively resistant to most insect pests, though spider mites, mealy bugs, scale insects, and aphid species may cause a decline in plant health. In pots, the species requires well-drained sandy potting soil and bright sunny conditions; however, aloe plants can burn under too much sun or shrivel when the pot does not drain the rain. The use of a good-quality commercial propagation mix or pre-packaged "cacti and succulent mix" is recommended, as they allow good drainage. Terracotta pots are preferable as they are porous. Potted plants should be allowed to completely dry prior to re-watering. When potted aloes become crowded with "pups" growing from the sides of the "mother plant," they should be divided and re-potted to allow room for further growth and help prevent pest infestations. During winter, Aloe vera may become dormant, during which little moisture is required. In areas that receive frost or snow, the species is best kept indoors or in heated glasshouses. Large scale agricultural production of Aloe vera is undertaken in Australia, Bangladesh, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, China, Mexico,India, Jamaica, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, along with the USA to supply the cosmetics industry with Aloe vera gel.

Soils

The plant can be grown in a variety of soils ranging from sandy coastal soils to loamy soils of plains. It is sensitive to water logged conditions. The crop also comes up well in light soils. It can tolerate higher pH and high Na and K salts. Growth is faster under medium fertile, heavy soils such as black cotton soils. In well drained, loam to coarse sandy loam in a pH range upto 8.5, it grows well with higher foliage.

Climate

Aloe has wide adaptability and can grow in various climatic conditions. It can be seen growing equally good in warm humid or dry climate. However, it is intolerant to extreme cool conditions. The plant flourishes well on dry sandy soils at localities with lower annual rainfall of 50 to 300mm. It needs protection against frost and low winter temperature.

Varieties

Commercially important sub-species are Aloe barbedensis, A. chinensis, A. perfoliata, A. vulgaris, A indica, A. littoralis and A. abyssinica. National Botanical and Plant Genetic Resource, ICAR, has released varieties like IC111271, IC111269, IC111280 etc. Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow, has also released the variety AL-1 for cultivation.

Propagation

It is generally propagated by root suckers or rhizome cuttings. For this purpose, medium sized root suckers are chosen and carefully dug out without damaging the parent plant at the base and directly planted in the main field.

It can also be propagated through rhizome cuttings. In this case, after the harvest of the crop, the underground rhizome is also dug out and made in 5-6 cm length cuttings which should have a minimum of 2-3 nodes on them. It is rooted in specially prepared sand beds or containers and after starting sprouting, it is ready for transplanting. On an average, about 36500 suckers are required for a nursery of 1 ha size (14550 for 1 acre nursery).

Spacing and plant population

Normally a spacing of 40cm x 45cm or 60cm x 30cm is followed. This accommodates about 55000 plants per hectare.

Land preparation and planting

The land is ploughed and cross ploughed thoroughly. Farm yard manure is added @ 15 t/ha during the last ploughing. Ridges and furrows are formed at 45 or 60cm apart. The plot may be irrigated if necessary. The suckers are planted at 40 or 30cm apart, maintaining the spacing suggested.

Manures and fertilizers

The crop responds well to the application of farm yard manure and compost. In the first year of plantation, FYM @15 t/ha is applied during the land preparation. During the subsequent years, the same dose of FYM is applied every year. Besides 50 :50:50 kg/ha of N:P:K is applied as basal dose.

Irrigation

Aloe can be successfully cultivated both under irrigated and rainfed conditions. Provision of irrigation immediately after planting and during summer season will ensure good yields. However, the plants are sensitive to water logged conditions.

Plant protection

Aloe is known to be infected by fungus causing leafspot disease. This effects yield and quality of the gel adversely. The disease can be controlled by spraying recommended fungicides.

Interculture

In order to facilitate healthy soil atmosphere, soil works like spading, earthing up, etc. are required in aloe plantation. Weeding at regular intervals are some important intercultural operations.

Harvest

The thick fleshy leaves are ready for harvest from the second year after planting. Normally, three harvests are taken in a year by removing three to four leaves per plant. Harvesting is labour intensive.
 
It is carried out in the morning and / or evening. The leaves will regenerate from the scar and thus the crop can be harvested upto 5 years after planting. Apart from leaves, the side suckers, which can be used as planting material, can also be sold.

Yield

Yield may be as high as 50 - 55 tonnes of thick fleshy leaves from one hectare plantation. However, a conservative yield of about 40 t/ha may be considered for working out day viability of bankable schemes. Suckers from about 55-60% of the plants could be sold out annually.

Post harvest management

Care must be taken in preparing the leafy plant material for drying or distillation. Freshly harvested plant are generally allowed to wilt and loose moisture in the field before transporting, although some volatiles are lost. Wilting is noticed normally within 24 to 72 hours. But the plant should be kept dry and cool to prevent fermentation or mould growth. A concrete floor under shade can be used. The best oil is in the top leaves.


Uses

Preparations made from the plant Aloe vera are often referred to as "aloe vera". Scientific evidence for the cosmetic and therapeutic effectiveness of aloe vera is limited and when present is frequently contradictory. Despite this, the cosmetic and alternative medicine industries regularly make claims regarding the soothing, moisturizing, and healing properties of aloe vera, especially via Internet advertising. Aloe vera gel is used as an ingredient in commercially available lotions, yogurt, beverages, and some desserts, although at certain doses, it has toxic properties when used either for ingested or topical applications.

Medicinal properties  

Aloe contains a mixture glucosides collectively called 'aloin', which is the active constituent of the drug. Aloin and its gel are used as skin tonic, has cooling effect and moisturizing agent and so it is used in preparation of creams, lotions, shampoos and allied products. It is also used in gerontology and rejuvenation of aging skin.
The aloin is extensively used as active ingredient in laxative and anti obesity preparations.

The products prepared from aloe leaves have multiple properties such as emollient, purgative, antibacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-fungal, antiseptic and cosmetic. The Food and Drug Administration of the UAS has approved the developmental study of aloevera in the treatment of cancer and AIDS.
Traditionally, aloe is extensively used in treating urine related problems, pimples, ulcers, etc.


Folk medicine

Aloe vera has a long association with herbal medicine, although it is not known when its medical applications were first suspected. Early records of Aloe vera use appear in the Ebers Papyrus from 16th century BC, in both Dioscorides' De Materia Medica and Pliny the Elder's Natural History written in the mid-first century CE along with the Juliana Anicia Codex produced in 512 AD. The species is used widely in the traditional herbal medicine of China, Japan, Russia, South Africa, the United States, Jamaica, Latin America and India.

Dietary supplement

Aloin, a compound found in the exudate of some Aloe species, was the common ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) laxative products in the United States prior to 2003, when the Food and Drug Administration ruled that aloin was a class III ingredient, thereby banning its use.Aloe vera has potential toxicity, with side-effects occurring at some dose levels both when ingested or applied topically. Although toxicity may be less when aloin is removed by processing, aloe vera that contains aloin in excess amounts may induce side-effects. A 2-year National Toxicology Program (NTP) study on oral consumption of non-decolorized whole leaf extract of aloe vera found evidence of carcinogenic activity in male and female rats. The NTP says more information is needed to determine the potential risks to humans.

Aloe vera juice is marketed to support the health of the digestive system, but there is neither scientific evidence nor regulatory approval to support this claim. The extracts and quantities typically used for such purposes appear to be dose-dependent for toxic effects.

Phytochemicals

Aloe vera leaves contain phytochemicals under study for possible bioactivity, such as acetylated mannans, polymannans, anthraquinone C-glycosides, anthrones, anthraquinones, such as emodin, and various lectins. Some of these compounds are used to manufacture insecticides.

Commodities

Aloe vera is now widely used on facial tissues, where it is promoted as a moisturiser and/or anti-irritant to reduce chafing of the nose of users suffering hay-fever or cold. It is common practice for cosmetic companies to add sap or other derivatives from Aloe vera to products such as makeup, tissues, moisturizers, soaps, sunscreens, incense, shaving cream, and shampoos. Other uses for extracts of aloe vera include the dilution of semen for the artificial fertilization of sheep, use as fresh food preservative, and use in water conservation in small farms. It has also been suggested that biofuels could be obtained from Aloe vera seeds. Aloe is also used as a food substance. Some molecular gastronomists have begun to take advantage of its gelling properties. Perhaps the most notable among these is Chef Quique Dacosta's "Oysters Guggenheim," created at El Poblet in Spain.

Research for possible medical uses

Wound & Lesion Treatment

Aloe vera may be effective in treatment of wounds. Evidence on the effects of its sap on wound healing, however, is limited and contradictory. Some studies, for example, show that aloe vera promotes the rates of healing, while, in contrast, other studies show that wounds to which aloe vera gel was applied were significantly slower to heal than those treated with conventional medical preparations. A 2007 review concluded that the cumulative evidence supports the use of aloe vera for the healing of first to second degree burns.Topical application of aloe vera may also be effective for genital herpes and psoriasis. However, it is not effective for the prevention of radiation-induced
 
injuries. Gels from Aloe vera have been compared to those derived from other aloe species and with other plants belonging to the family Asphodelaceae. Bulbine frutescens, for example, is used widely for burns and a host of skin afflictions. Aloe vera extracts might have antibacterial and antifungal activities, which possibly could help treat minor skin infections, such as boils and benign skin cysts and may inhibit growth of fungi causing tinea. For bacteria, inner-leaf gel from aloe vera was shown in one study to inhibit growth of Streptococcus and Shigella species in vitro. In contrast, aloe vera extracts failed to show antibiotic properties against Xanthomonas species.

Skin Protection and Cancer

Although anecdotally useful, Aloe vera has not been proven to offer protection for humans from sunburn, suntan, or other damage from the sun.

However, the plant polysaccharides present in Aloe vera, although offering no direct protection against sunburn, may offer skin protection by specifically targeting pathways activated by UV radiation that can lead to non-melanoma skin cancer. UV radiation causes local depletion of antigen-presenting Langerhans cell (LCs), as well as systemic immunosuppression. In experiments in
edible cactus farm

laboratory mice, polysaccharides preserved the number and morphology of immunosuppresive LCs and dendritic cells (DCs) in skin that was damaged by UV. These saccharides have also been seen to preserve delayed-type hypersensitivity and cutaneous contact hypersensitivity suppressed by acute UV radiation. Delayed-type hypersensitivity-protective saccharides extracted from A. vera also prevented the systemic suppression of T-cell-mediated immune responses and the production of keratinocyte-derived Interleukin 10 by UV-irradiated epidermal cells in mice. Compounds extracted from aloe vera have been used as an immunostimulant that aids in fighting cancers in cats and dogs; however, this treatment has not been scientifically tested in humans.

Dental care

In a double-blind clinical trial, both the group using an aloe vera containing dentifrice and the group using a fluoridated dentifrice had a reduction of gingivitis and plaque, but no statistically significant difference was found between the two.

Diabetes and blood lipids

There is preliminary evidence that A. vera extracts may be useful in the treatment of diabetes and elevated blood lipids in humans. These positive effects are thought to be due to the presence of compounds such as mannans, anthraquinones and lectins.Internal intake of aloe vera has been linked in preliminary research with improved blood glucose levels in diabetics, although it has been suggested by the NTP that aloe may lower blood glucose levels. It has also been linked with lower blood lipids in hyperlipidaemic patients, but also with acute hepatitis (liver disease).

Other

Preliminary studies have suggested oral aloe vera gel may reduce symptoms and inflammation in patients with ulcerative colitis.

Toxicity

Ingestion of Aloe vera is associated with diarrhea, electrolyte imbalance, kidney dysfunction, and conventional drug interactions; episodes of contact dermatitis, erythema, and phototoxicity have been reported from topical applications. Diarrhea, caused by the laxative effect of oral aloe vera, can decrease the absorption of many drugs.

Economic life 

Commercially yield is obtained from the second to fifth year, after which it needs replanting.

Technical guidance

Technical guidance for aloe planters is available from different institutes and organisations such as Central Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, National Research Centre for Medicinal and 
 
Aromatic Plants, State Agricultural Universities (e.g. Kerala Agricultural University, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore), Regional Research Laboratories, etc. National Medicinal Plants Board may also be approached for technical guidance and marketing of the produce.

Marketing and export potentiality

The produce can be marketed in different commercial pharmaceutical and herbal firms located in India. Cosmetics containing aloe content command phenomenal rates in the markets abroad. But hardly any export takes place. Traded in processed form such as gel, juice and concentrate, aloe content is present in over 80 per cent of the cosmetics in the European market.

Demand

The major market of Aloe vera and its extracts are in Australia, USA and Europe. Aloe vera is not only used for medicinal purpose but it is used in cosmetics, as food ingredients, beverages, in incenses, etc. The demand for Aloe vera is increasing and with scientific studies supporting the medicinal benefits of Aloe vera it is profitable to cultivate Aloe vera.

Conclusion

As more and more studies are being undertaken, positive benefits of Aloe vera a revealed. The cost for cultivating Aloe vera will yield good return of investment. India  has an ideal climate for the cultivation of Aloe vera and possibly can utilize its medicinal benefits for diabetes, cholesterol, etc. for the local population at a cheaper cost.

Unit cost 

In the present model, the unit cost for the development of aloevera in 1 ha of land works out to be Rs.68700.00. This may be modified to suit the local conditions taking into account the different techno-economic parameters prevailing in the locality.

MAJOR MARKETING CENTRES OF MEDICINAL & AROMATIC PLANTS  IN INDIA
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State          Districts / Places
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Rajasthan              - Kota, Jhalawar, Jaipur, Ajmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bharatpur
Punjab                  - Amritsar, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Ropar, Jalandhar
Delhi                     - Delhi

Haryana                - Ambala
J & K                   - Jammu, Srinagar, Rajouri, Baramula, Udhampur
Uttar Pradesh        - Allahabad, Lakhimpur, Saharnpur, Bijnor, Agra, Varanasi
                                Rishikesh, Lucknow, Areilly, Kanpur

Himachal  Pradesh - Kallu, Kinnour, Joginder Nagar, Chamba, Mandi, Shimla,
                               Solan, Una -
Madhya  Pradesh   - Gwaliar, Katni, Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Bilaspur, Dhamtari,
                                Shivpuri, Neemuah
Assam / North        - Guwahati, Shillong, Udaypur (S.Tripura), Dimapur, Kohima,

Eastern  States        - Kerang, Aizwal, Saiha (Mizoram), Silchar, Lakhimpur, Dhimaji,
                                 Pasighat, Darang, Tinsukhia, Shibsagar, Agartala, Dualgahi
Gujarat                    - Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot, Bhavanagar, Surat, Junagarh,
                                  Jamnagar, Sidhpur
Maharashtra            - Nasik, Mumbai, Dhule, Jalagaon, Akola, Nanded,
                                 Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Pune, Kannad,
                                 Kopergaom, Thane, Satara

Bihar                       - Kodarma Garwa, Gaya, Daltongang, Patna, Sasaram,
                                  Munger, Nawada, Rajgeer, Nalanda, Biharsharif, Bhagalpur
West Bengal           - Kolkata, Kharangpur, Siliguri, Malda
Andhra  Pradesh     - Hyderabad, Anantpur, Kareem Nagar, Elluru, Cuddappa,
                                 Vizaywad, Guntur

Karnataka               - Cochin, Ernakulam, Palaghat, Trichur, Aluva, Tuticorin
Tamil Nadu              - Chennai, Salem, Madurai, Virudhnagar
Orissa                      - Behhrampur, Puri, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Bolangir
                       
Chhatish garh           - Jagdalpur, Raipur
Uttaranchal              - Dehradun, Hardwar, Ramnagar, Tanakpur
Jharkhand                - Ranchi, Dhanbad
U.T.                        - Chandigarh
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COST OF DEVELOPMENT OF ALOE
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 Unit Size : 1.0 ha.                                                                                                       (Figs. in Rs.)
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Sr. No.                                         Item                                                                            Year
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I                                                MATERIALS                           1                    2                 3 onwards
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1                                               Planting materials                     27,500             -                     -
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2                                               FYM                                         4,500           4,500             4,500
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3                                               Fertilizers                                   1,850           1,850             1,850
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4                                               Irrigation                                    1,200           1,200             1,200
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5                                              Plant protection chemicals            1,200           1,200            1,200
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                                                Sub Total - I                              36,250           8750             8,750
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II
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LABOUR                                                                                      -                   -                     -
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1                                               Land preparation                        4,500               -                    -
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------   2                       Preparation of ridges and furrows and planting    4500                -                    -
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3                        Application of manures and fertilizers                    600              600                600
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4                        Spraying of plant protection chemicals                  600              600                600
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5                        Irrigation                                                              900              900                900
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6                        Inter culture                                                       3,000           3,000             3,000
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7                        Harvesting                                                             -               3,000            4,500
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8                        Packing, loading etc.                                              -               1,500            3,000
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                          Sub Total - II                                                  14,100            9,600           12,600
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                          GRAND TOTAL                                            50,350          18,350          21,350


                                                  Unit cost : Rs. 68700.00 (capitalised upto the 2nd year) 



Yield schedule

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         -                                                              Year 2                                                         Year 3 to 5
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Leaves (t/ha)                                                      30                                                               40
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Technical parameters

 Varieties                               : IC111271, IC111269, AL-1, etc.
 Spacing                                : 45cm x 40cm , 60cm x 30cm
 Plant population                    : 55000 / ha
 FYM                                    : 15 t/ha
 Fertilizers                              : 50 : 50 : 50 kg/ha of N : P : K

Financial parameters :

                                                           Rs.
 Planting material (per sucker)                0.50
 Wage rate (per manday)                     60.00
 FYM (per tonne)                              300.00
Fertilizers per kg
                                                          N 10.50
                                                          P2O5 19.00
                                                          K2O 7.50

Sale prices of leaves / t                        2000

 Maintenance cost : Year 3 - 5             21350 (per year)  

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