The number of diabetic patients is increasing rapidly in other countries, including India. Due to today’s hectic life and irregular eating habits, 5 out of 10 people suffer from this disease. According to a November 2017 report by the Indian Council of Medical Research, there has been a 64 percent increase in diabetes cases in India in the last 25 years. As a result, Stevia is gaining popularity as an alternative to sugar, and many farmers are practising Stevia farming with the Mahindra Oja 2127 tractor for higher income.
What Is Stevia?
Stevia mane is a genus of about 240 species of sweet basil. Stevia comes from the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and is native to tropical and subtropical regions from western North to South America.
Moreover, Stevia produces sweetness more slowly than sugar as a sweetener. It lasts longer, although, in high concentrations, some of its essence can taste bitter or similar to liquorice after eating. The sweetness of its essence is 300 times sweeter than sugar. As a result, the demand for Stevia is increasing as a low-carbohydrate, low-sugar substitute.
Health Benefits Of Stevia
Medical research has also proven the benefits of Stevia to cure obesity and high blood pressure. It tastes good as a natural sweetener to people on carb-control diets because Stevia has little effect on blood glucose. In addition, the impact of Stevia on blood glucose is negligible. Therefore, as a natural sweetener, it is also beneficial for diabetics and others on carbohydrate-controlled diets.
Where Is Stevia Cultivated?
Stevia had been initially cultivated in Paraguay. Later, it was produced in countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, America etc. Finally, Stevia farming started in India two decades ago. It is cultivated in Bangalore, Pune, Indore and Raipur and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
How To Do Stevia Farming?
Stevia only requires a little space to grow; cultivating it on a large scale is also beneficial. Let’s explore the complete process of Stevia farming.
Climate And Land For Stevia Farming
A temperate climate is more suitable for Stevia. It can be grown successfully at 10°C to 41°C. In Stevia farming, the farmer should remember that the same variety of Stevia should be planted. Moreover, it can be grown successfully in high temperatures. To protect the plants from high heat, they should be planted between the plants of maize. Regarding its land, proper drainage, friable, flat, sandy loam or loam land is most suitable.
Planting In Stevia Farming
The most significant advantage of its cultivation is that it is sown only once. And Stevia planted only in ten months except for June and December. Once the crop is sown, it can yield a five-year harvest. You can get a crop from it every three months in a year.
Stevia Planting Method
Stevia is propagated by seeds, vegetative or tiny buds with roots. Plants are also made from tissue culture, which usually fetches Rs 5-6 per plant. However, transplanting plants in October or November should be done at a distance of 30 X 30 cm with the help of a Swaraj 744 tractor. Irrigation should be given right after transplanting.
Manures And Fertilizers
Another advantage of its cultivation is that only natural fertilizers are needed. For this, 10-15 tonnes of decomposed cow dung, 5-6 tonnes of earthworm manure and 60:60 kg of phosphorus are used. Potash should be mixed in the field at the time of plantation. A total of 120 kg nitrogen should be given 3 times in equal quantity to the standing crop.
Stevia Farming Irrigation
It requires 4-5 irrigations during the entire cropping period. Therefore, it should be irrigated as needed because the water requirement for the stevia crop remains the same as that of the rice crop. It needs Irrigation throughout the year. As a result, it is necessary to irrigate it regularly.
Weed Control In Stevia Farming
The stevia crop should be cleaned continuously to eliminate weeds. They should be uprooted, and the field should be ploughed at regular intervals. To maintain soil moisture, weed control should be done by hand. And no chemical weedicide should be used.
Pest And Disease Control
Generally, most outbreaks of any particular disease or pest have not been observed on Stevia. But sometimes, due to the lack of boron elements in the soil, there may be an outbreak of a leap spot. For its proper health, 6% borax can be sprayed. Also, sprinkling cow urine or neem oil mixed with water at regular intervals does not cause diseases and pests in the crop.
Plucking Of Leaves In Stevia Farming
The stevia crop is ready for the first harvesting, about four months of planting. Harvesting should be done before flowering on the plants. This way, the first harvesting starts after four months, and further harvesting starts every 3-3 months. Harvesting should be done before flowering on the plant. In this, about 3-4 times, the leaves can be plucked. In the end, the entire crop should be harvested.
Storing The Stevia Leaves
After picking the leaves, they should be dried in the shade. The leaves become entirely moisture-free when dried in the shade for 3-4 days. Then, it is stored in airtight containers or poly bags. It can also be sold in the form of a powder.
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