Today, we will help you to understand economics of lemongrass cultivation along with lemongrass propagation methods we will also drag your attention to the subject how to start lemongrass farming!
- As the name suggests, lemon grass belongs to the grass family.
- The original name of lemongrass is Cymbopogan and Cymbopogon is a greek word. Lemongrass is a tropical island plant however, it can easily grow in subtropical regions as well. Cymbopogon citratus are mostly cultivated as medicinal and culinary herbs because of their scent, resembling that of lemons.
- Lemon grass is native to South India and Srilanka but also widely grown in tropical regions of Asia and America.
- India is the largest producer of lemon grass in the entire world.
- When it comes to exports, India exports nearly 80 % of lemon grass to the USA, Europe, and Japan. While talking about domestic lemon grass cultivation in India; it is cultivated in states like Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and in other South Indian regions.
East Indian lemongrass and West Indian lemongrass
These are two major cultivable varieties of lemon grass that are cultivated in India.
- East Indian lemongrass (cymbopogon flexuosus) - This variety is also known as Cochin grass or Malbar grass. This lemon grass is native to Cambodia, India, Vietnam, Laos, Srilanka, Burma, Thailand.
- West Indian lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus) - This lemon grass variety is native to Southeast Asia and maritime.
In India West Indian lemongrass (C. citratus) is used as a medical herb as well as in perfumes. In Brazil it is consumed as a tea to treat anxiety. In Caribbean, the tea is consumed to boost immunity. In Hoddo lemon oil is used as van van oil.
Lemon grass plant description
- Lemon grass (cymbopogon flexuosus) - It is considered as a perennial grass which smells like a lemon. It is a fast growing grass and it can reach the height of 1.5 meter. Leaves of the grass are dark green in colour and this species can produce seeds.
- Lemon grass (cymbopogon citratus) - Vishva variety of lemongrass is also a fast growing lemongrass variety and reaches the height of 1 meter. The foliage of the grass is bluish green and this variety is not able to produce seeds.
- Oil extraction - peduncle and foliage are the most important parts of cymbopogon flexuosus and cymbopogon citratus grass due to the oil extraction through steam distillation.
- Citronella grass grows 2 meter tall and has a magenta coloured stem. These species are used to make citronella oil which is later used to make soap (insect repellent), insect candles, insect sprays, aromatherapy.
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Lemongrass farming project report
To get a lemongrass cultivation project report we need to figure out the lemongrass cost per acre then reduce it from lemongrass profit thus we can find an assumption of lemongrass project report.
Let’s do it
Lemongrass cost per acre
Cost of lemongrass plant - 30 paise to Rs 5
No off grass slips per acre 18,000 to 26,000 (according to spacing)
Let's take an average price of Rs 2 per slip, then -
Rs 2 x 20,000 (lemongrass slips) = Rs 40,000
Lemongrass plants cost = Rs 40,000
Land preparation cost
Fertilizers and manures cost
Plant protection cost
Harvesting charges (3-5 times, year)
Now add planting material cost i.e Rs 40,000
Rs 40,000 + Rs 93000 = Rs 133000
Total cost = Rs 133000 (for 1st year)
Now lets calculate
lemongrass profit per acre
Lemongrass production in one acre - nearly 80 to 125 kg lemongrass oil in a year
- If 100 kg lemongrass oil is produced then
- Multiply 100 kg with current price of lemongrass oil
- Lemongrass oil price per kg varies between Rs 1200 to Rs 1700
- If the price is Rs 1200 then
- 100 kg (oil) x Rs 1200 = Rs 120,000
In the first year you might not earn any profit but from next year you will earn profit from lemongrass farming.
After 1 year reduce plant material cost (40,000), ground preparation cost (10,000), labour cost (8000) from total cost (133000)
- Cost after 1st year = Rs 58000 - 133000
- Cost for per year (from 2nd year) = Rs 75000
- Lemongrass profit per year = Rs 120,000
- Net profit for next five years = Rs 120,000 - 75,000 = 45000
- Net profit per year = Rs 45000 from 1 acre
Note - The price may vary according to the market, region and current price.
Other names of lemon grass
lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, Cochin grass, Malabar grass, oily heads, citronella grass or fever grass,
How to start lemongrass farming
One can easily start lemongrass farming by following the below given steps
Propagation method of lemongrass
- Growing lemongrass plants through clumps are preferred due to high quality oil. One can remove the clumps by 20 to 25 cm of the root.
- Growing lemongrass from seed - Seats obtained from the plant is another way of propagating lemongrass. While blooming flowers lemon grass produces seeds and these seeds get matured within 2-3 months.
- The seed needs to be dry under the sunlight and don't forget to remove the fluffy mass before sowing these seeds. Germination process of seeds starts within 5 to 6 days and they get ready for transplant from nursery to main field in 55 to 60 days. In one hectare one can sow around 4-5 kg seeds.
Lemongrass soil and climate
- Details of lemon grass soil and lemongrass climate requirements are mentioned below please have a look
Lemongrass growing temperature
- Lemongrass temperature requirements - Lemongrass plants can easily grow in tropical and subtropical climate conditions Temperature required for lemongrass is 10 degree to 33 degrees Celsius .
- While talking about lemon grass growing climate please note frost and cold weather are not suitable for lemon grass cultivation hence, it is advised not to start lemon grass plantation in the said weather. Moreover, bright sunlight is necessary for the development of oil content.
Lemongrass soil requirements
- However, lemongrass can grow in any type of soil and it is known for its soil friendly nature but for best performance you can use sandy or clay loam soil. Dry loamy soil is good to produce grass with high citral content and high citral content has good worldwide demand.
Lemongrass soil ph level
- Lemongrass prefers sandy, loamy soil with a pH range of 5 to 8; however, lemongrass is soil friendly and can grow in other soil as well.
Water requirements for lemongrass
- lemongrass water requirements - for growing lemon grass plant minimum rainfall of 600 mm is necessary. You can use a drip irrigation system in lemon grass cultivation.
- During the first month of planting lemongrass you should use irrigation in a 3 day interval. Once you plant grow you can start watering the plant in the intervals of 7 to 10 days.
Land preparation for lemon grass cultivation
Start with the plowing process and apply ploughing a couple of times to label the ground surface. Remove unnecessary weed and throw tiny stones out of the farm.
- Dig the pits of of 5 cm with the spacing of 15 x 10 cm
- Spacing between the rows should be 20 cm
- width of the rows need to be 40 cm
- It is advised to plant nearly 50,000 plants per hectare in low rainfall area
- Avoid planting slips or seeds during the hot or winter season.
Manure fertilizer requirements for lemongrass crop
- Lemongrass plant demands for high potassium in comparison of other fertilizers like phosphate
- 55 to 115 kg fertilizer is required per hectare in lemongrass farming.
- Add 10 tonnes of FYM to the soil during land preparation
- Basal dose - Npk fertilizer 90 kg at ratio of 1 : 1 : 1 at the time of planting
- During lemongrass growing season - 60 to 90 kg nitrogen in three splits
- Nitrogen supply is necessary for vegetative growth in the plant
Pest and Disease Control in lemongrass crop
- Stem boring caterpillars and nematodes are some of the common pests that are found in lemongrass crops. To control these pests you need to remove the affected shoots and use pest chemical sprays, organic sprays.
- Due to weed control capability, mulching technique is always preferred in various types of farming. It also gives benefits of preventing various pests and insects from reaching near your plant.
- The most common diseases found in lemon grass plants are rust, red leaf spot, leaf blight, long smut etc.
Note - Instead of burning dry stubble (against environment) it is recommended to use organic fungicide sprays.
Harvesting of lemongrass crop
- 3 harvests are possible in the first year of planting a lemon grass plant.
- lemongrass needs 6 to 9 months to reach its first harvest.
- After 1st year 5 to 10 harvests are possible.
- Taller grass has less oil healed so don't allow your plants to grow taller than a certain height.
- Cut the lemon grass 10 to 15 cm from the ground level to avoid the delay Regrowth.
- Due to the evaporation effect lemongrass harvesting is preferred in the morning.
- Cutting the lemon plant from the lower portion is not recommended because lemongrass has less oil content in the lower portion and more oil content in the upper portion.
- Harvesting in the winter season is beneficial due to faster regrowth.
- Harvesting can be done mechanically or manually.
Yield of lemongrass crop
Lemon grass planted in one hectare area produces 250 to 300 kg lemongrass oil. Here density of plants is important and proper water supply along with sufficient nutrients can increase the quality and productivity.
Post harvest management
- Grass may lose its quality, colour and fragrance so, it is advised to apply the drying process quickly.
- You can use a conventional dryer for the drying process of leaves without any loss.
- The harvested lemongrass leaves can be stored in a shady area for 3 days without any effect.
- Fresh lemongrass can be distilled immediately.
- Wilt leaves contain less moisture which helps in completing the drying process in less time.
- Due to the volatile nature of the oil you should handle it with more care
- It should be refrigerated and tightly capped so that the shelf life of the oil can be improved.
- Don't use rubber or plastic containers to store the oil because the oil has an acidic nature and can destroy rubber and plastic.
- Instead of rubber or plastic containers dark airtight glass containers are recommended to store the lemongrass oil.
- Lemongrass oil distillation takes around 3 to 4 hours for complete recovery of oil. Still distillation is preferred for lemongrass oil extraction.
- Lemongrass oil is yellowish in colour Having 75 to 85% citrol.
- The recovery of oil from the grass is between 0.5 % to 0..8 percent.
- There are two types of distillation methods Hydro distillation and steam distillation.
- Hydro distillation is cheaper but steam distillation is more effective.
Lemongrass oil and tea benefits
Lemongrass essential oil benefits
- Lemongrass oil has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Lemongrass Essential oil may help reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Oil is used in relaxation and massage therapy.
- Essential oil is helpful for treating headache.
- Lemongrass oil is used in fungal infection treatment.
- Lemongrass oil contains strong antioxidant properties.
Lemongrass tea benefits
- Lemongrass tea has an antioxidant properties.
- It has antimicrobial properties.
- Lemongrass tea has anti-inflammatory properties.
- It may help in digestion.
- Lemongrass is helpful to maintain blood pressure.
- It may help decreasing your bad cholesterol.
- Lemongrass tree help to reduce weight.