Do you want to grow betel leaves and make money? If yes, find here a detailed guide to starting a betel leaf cultivation business in your backyard or polyhouse.
Betel leaves, commonly known as Pan is a perennial, dioecious, evergreen creeper, cultivated in moist, tropical, and sub-tropical regions in the world. The botanical name of the betel vine is Piper betel. The commercial product is the leaf, mainly used for chewing with Arecanut, slaked lime, tobacco, and some other ingredients.
Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and other parts of South Asia and Southeast Asian countries are the major producers of it. Betel vine cultivation is profitable and the product has an export demand also.
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Here are the Steps to Start Betel Leaf Cultivation Business
The leaves of this plant have a higher economic and medicinal value but from ancient times it has been mostly used for chewing purposes and ceremonial events along with other condiments. This chewing combination in the form of a betel quid could be varied with different ingredients from country to country.
Several value-added products from betel have been formulated and those include betel toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, face cream, instant betel quid, and pellets. It is an important cash crop of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Betel Leaf Farming Profit
- Betel vine is particularly suited to smallholdings. With a small piece of land, one can initiate a betel vine cultivation business.
- Once established, a betel vine garden becomes a potential source of income for the farm owners.
- You can keep betel leaf on the vine for up to 2 to 5 months. It does not have to be harvested and sold out at a time like other perishable cash crops.
- You can pick only marketable leaves according to the current need.
Agro-Climatic Condition For Betel Leaf Cultivation
Betel vine is cultivated in two systems, the closed type, and open type systems. In the closed type system, it is cultivated is a conservatory, locally known as Boroj, Bareja, or Bheet. In the open system, it is cultivated in a cool shady ecosystem on live standards with adequate soil moisture. The tropical climate, high rainfall, and shady place are best for its vigorous growth.
Betel vine thrives best under humid tropical conditions with cool shade. It flourishes in areas with a rainfall of 225 to 475 cm. Where such conditions are not available, an artificial structure is created to grow the crop. Otherwise, high temperatures and hot winds would burn the tender tips and leaves of the vines affecting their growth and production.
Health Benefits Of Betel Leaf
- Chewing betel leaves improve digestion.
- It prevents carcinogenesis in the oral cavity.
- Betel leaf helps to maintain good oral hygiene
- Extracts of betel leaves are known to have gastroprotective activity and help in preventing gastric ulcers.
- Extracts of betel leaves are known to control blood sugar levels and have an effective anti-diabetic property
- Betel leaf is also known to have analgesic properties and hence applying it over the affected area is known to effectively reduce a headache.
- It is seen in betel leaves dipped in castor oil when introduced into the rectum, effectively relieving constipation.
Best Varieties For Betelvine Cultivation
Based on the shape, size, brittleness, and taste of the leaf blade, betel vine is classified into pungent and non-pungent varieties. A Large number of local betel accessions are grown in Sri Lanka. Among them “Maneru”, “Ratadalu” and “Galdalu” are popular betel varieties with high export quality. Some of the popular varieties that are cultivated state-wise are following
Andhra Pradesh: Karapaku, Chennoor, Tellaku bangla Khasi, Assamiya, bangla, Awani, garo, Karbi and Naga Pan.
Bihar: Deshi, Calcutta Bangla, Maghai, Kapoori
Karnataka: Kariyale, Mysoreale, Ambadiale or Ambadi Badami Nadan, Nandan, Kalkodi, Puthukodi, Thulasi, Venmani
Madhya Pradesh: Desawari, Deshi Bangla, Calcutta Bangla
Maharashtra: Kalipatti, Kapoori, Ramtek, Bangla
Orissa: Godi Bangla, Naua Bangla, Deshi Pan, Alupatria, Jaganathi
Tamil Nadu: Pachaikodi, Vellaikodi, Kapoori, SB 35
Uttar Pradesh: Desawari, Kapoori, Maghai, Mahoba Bangla
West Bengal: Mitha, Sanchi, Deshi Bangla, Kali Bangla, Ghanagete Bangla, Simurali, Bhavna, Birkuli
Suitable Soil For Betelvine Cultivation
Soil with good organic matter and drainage system is best suited for betel vine growth. However, it can be grown on different types of soils such as heavy clayey loam, laterite, and sandy loam soils. Exceptionally, well-drained and fertile soils, rich in organic matter, with loam, clay-loam, or sandy-loam texture are best suited for the cultivation of betel vine.
However, this crop has wide adaptation, red loam soils both light and heavy with good soil depth and even sandy soils are also considered suitable for this crop, provided assured irrigation facilities are available. The crop prefers a soil PH ranging from 7.0 to 8.2. Soils with lower PH may be adjusted using the required amount of lime at the time of soil preparation.
Types Of Betal vine Cultivation Practice
Generally, there are two different types of practices for betel vine cultivation. One is the closed type, and another is open type systems.
Closed Type System: Micro-climate plays an important role in the better quality and production of betel leaves. In areas where the climate is not suitable for natural cultivation, cultivation is done in an artificially created controlled condition. In other words, the ideal conditions are provided by artificial means under thatched cover, popularly known as Boroj or Bareja ( betel vineyard).
Open Type System: The open type system is generally practiced in South Indian states. In this system, betel vine cultivation is done by raising live standards which provide support as well as shade.
Here are the 9 Steps for Betel Leaf Cultivation
1. Construction of Boroj or Conservatory
Borojs are normally made on high-level land. There must be a slope in all directions for quick drainage of excess water. These types of structures are constructed with locally available materials such as bamboo, jute sticks, straw, reeds, etc. The shape of the boroj may be square or rectangular with a height of about 2 to 2.5 m.
2. Land Preparation
You must prepare the soil well by 4–5 ploughings and land should be raised by 5–10cm from the adjacent areas, providing proper gradient on both sides for quick drainage. Before use, the soil must be pasteurized by the solarization technique.
40,000–75,000 cuttings are used for a hectare under open system of cultivation whereas 1,00,000–1,20,000 cuttings/ha are sufficient in bareja (closed) system of cultivation. The onset of the monsoon is the ideal time for planting under the closed system of cultivation. The planting is done in rows.
Generally, most betel vine farmers apply a very heavy quantity of organic manures, particularly in the form of mustard cake. Oilcake is applied near the roots in small to moderate quantities at a time. However, it is applied in a number of splits in quick succession, particularly during the rains. Inorganic or chemical fertilizers are rarely used.
Betelvine requires high soil moisture. It needs moist soil, neither too wet nor too dry. Avoid over-watering or water stagnation. However, keep the soil of the Boroj moist. Frequent light irrigation is necessary depending upon the season. Irrigate the soil as need-based. You must avoid a flood irrigation system.
6. Intercultural Operation
within a month’s time of planting the cutting start sprouting and creeping. Jute sticks and bamboo sticks are placed by the side of the creepers as support and fastened with kush grass to facilitate climbing. The stems which accumulate at ground level are sometimes covered with soil or allowed to remain coiled on the ground between the rows and sticks.
Harvesting & Productivity of Betelvine Cultivation
There is no fixed harvesting time for betel leaves. As vines reach a certain height, leaves are harvested from the lower portion of the stem. The growers usually harvest the leaves according to the demand of the market. Pluck the betel leaves by hand without any aid.
Pluck sufficiently mature leaves along with the petioles. After plucking, wash them thoroughly and make them into bundles according to the prevailing custom of the area. On average, 60–80 lakh leaves are harvested annually from the one-hectare plantation.
Obviously, good leaves fetch a higher price, though other leaves that get damaged, diseased or deformed are also plucked. These are disposed of after trimming at a cheaper rate.
Storage & Market Opportunity For Betelvine Cultivation
Harvested leaves are washed, cleaned, and then graded according to size and quality. The leaves are then packed after cutting a portion of the petiole and rejecting the damaged leaves.
Depending upon the market, the picked leaves are sorted into different grades according to size, color, texture, and maturity. After grading the leaves are arranged in number for packing. Bamboo baskets are generally used for packing.
Try to sell betel leaves in the local market. Apart from domestic demand, there is export potential too. Leaves exported are often processed through bleaching and smoking to increase their keeping quality. Processing changes the colors of the leaves and makes the leaves softer and less pungent.
With an exception of the first year, betel vine cultivation is highly remunerative. Betel vine cultivation may become a highly profitable enterprise in areas of small landholdings also.