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 Post Harvest Information for Ginger  
 Package of Practice | Integrated Plant Protection | Varietal Selection  


Ginger is the major rhizomatous crop grown by almost every farmer of the north-eastern region. The annual production of ginger in NE Region is around 47,770 tonnes from the 11,390 hectare area, which contributes 32.16% area. The average yield is 150% of the average yield of the country. Meghalaya is the second largest producer of ginger in the country next to Kerala. Ginger sown in NE hill region in the months of April and May. The crop takes 8 to 9 months maturity time and harvesting time takes in the months of December and January. Depending upon the prevailing demand, the green ginger (tender rhizome) is also harvested after 6 months of sowing for preservation, pickling and consumption. The mature crop is harvested and rhizome material is separated from the marketable ginger. Subsequently farmers have to dispose of the ginger immediately into the market and accept the lowest rate of their produce because all those peak months. Thus the farmers cannot reap the benefits of their labour appropriately. In order to overcome their problem farmers store the ginger and its propagative materials, the rhizomes. The rhizomes storage is essential for the next cultivation. Traditional storing of rhizome is done in many ways, but the prevailing methods in NE region are (i) in-situ storage and (ii) pit storage.

Traditional Method of Rhizome Storage

  • In-situ storage: Since harvesting falls in the month of December and Janaury, farmers traditionally do not go immediately for the next cultivation because their farms are unirrigated. They harvest according to the market demand and consumption and allow the rest of rhizomes to remain unearthed in the field. These are dug out at the time of the next sowing. The pros and cons of this practice are; a) to save the labour for harvesting, handling and storing, b) to save the expenditure on additional storage structure c) about 50% crop spoil due to over maturing, rotting or disease susceptibility, and d) rhizomes start sprouting in course of time.

  • Pit storage: A circular or rectangular pit is dug according to the requirement. A thin layer of straw is first spread over the bottom of pit and rhizomes are placed into this layer in the pit up to a little less than the ground level. Again a thin layer of straw covers the rhizomes. The final covering is done with the soil to the ground level. It is opened before the next sowing season and healthy rhizomes are sown. In this method, the rhizomes get spoiled in two ways; a) around 25-30% rhizomes rot in the pit itself and b) about 10-15% rhizomes sprout in the pit are rendered useless for sowing. This loss is incurred because; a) pits are kept outside and underground causing the seepage and infiltration of water to be unmanageable, and b) there is no control on the underground spoilage due to activities of micro-organism.

Improved Technology

Clayed-Bamboo Wall Structure for storing ginger: Considering the availability of local material an improved storage-structure for ginger was developed by ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Barapani, Meghalaya. It was an indoor structure. The raw material required for the structure consisted of bamboo, clay, cow dung, sand, polythene sheets and galvanized wire. The main components of the structure are clayed bamboo mat wall, split bamboo frame, sand and polythene sheet.

The structure was constructed inside the farm shed of ICAR Research Complex, Barapani. It has two chambers of 2m x 2m square and 1.4 m height from the ground level. The figure below shows the details of construction of the structure with the clayed-bamboo wall for the storing of ginger. The walls of the chamber are made of bamboo mats, clay and cow dung paste. The two bamboo mats are stood straight parallel at 20 cm apart with the support of the bamboo post.

The complete double-walled bamboo mat structure is prepared with the help of split bamboo frame and tied with galvanized wire. Then the paste of the clay and cowdung was poured in between the mats in the 4-5 stages with a one day interval up to the complete height (1.4m) of the walls. This filling was kept for drying continuously for 20-25 days. The outer surfaces of the mat were plastered with clay and cowdung paste. The structure was allowed to dry completely. Then the structure was ready to store ginger.

Method of Storage

The ginger was stored in a chamber made by alternate layers of dry sand and rhizomes keeping the thickness ratio of 25:10 cm. The lower and upper layer of sand was kept around 8 cm thick. The top of the chamber was covered with the polythene sheet and sealed from the edges by putting more pressure with the help of split bamboo.

Ginger was kept for five months in this structure. It was observed that there was; (a) no loss in weight and moisture, (b) no sprouting, (c) no loss due to any infestation and rotting and (d) the quality of rhizomes was maintained. The structure proved perfect for storing the rhizomes till the period of further sowing. The capacity of the storage in such a structure was approximately 4 tonnes of rhizomes. The unit capacity of the structure was evaluated as 350 kg to 400 kg per cubic metre of space.

Cost, Durability and Maintenance of the Structure

The cost of such a structure may vary from place to place according to the availability of bamboo and labour. However, the storage structure constructed in Meghalaya costs around Rs. 2000/-. The approximate break up of the cost was; (a) material cost (bamboo, polythene sheet and wire) Rs. 1000/- and (b) Labour cost (mat preparation and erection of clayed bamboo wall) Rs. 1000/-. The minimum 30% loss incurred by pit storage was spared by this new technique. Thus the structure returned the cost of 1.2 tonnes of rhizomes. The rhizome rate at the time of sowing season varies from Rs. 20 to 40 per kg, which gives the 30% more return than by storing by the pit method. The unit cost of storage came to Rs. 0.50/kg. The structure was used for the following year after a minor repair and wall plastering. Such a structure might last for 4 to 5 years unless there is a major damage. Great care should be taken to save the structure from rodents and termites so that it lasts long.


Source: ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Barapani