Introduction to Betel Leaves Cultivation (Paan Leaves)
Well, today let us discuss about Betel Leaves Cultivation (Paan), Planting methods.
This betel plant is a vine majorly found in Asia. These leaves have originated in South East Asia. This plant belongs to the genus of Piperacea. The scientific name of the betel leaf is Piper betle. Exclusive betel farming is done in the countries of Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. Pakistan is a major importer of the Sri Lankan Betel.
There are many health benefits associated with the consumption of betel leaves. They are consumed with Areca nut or tobacco. These leaves are also used in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines. Across the world there are many varieties of betel leaves, which are popular all over the world. In many countries betel leaves are used in religious ceremonies. Betel leaves are called as “Paan” in many places of India. Betel leveas cultivation is very profitable under proper management practices.
Characteristics of Betel Leaves:
- The plant is a vine, which can trellis over thewall or fencing.
- The leaves of this plant are glossy green in color; the leaf is heart-shaped and has white catkin.
- The trunk of the tree can reach up to 12 – 15 cm and the circumference of the tree trunk is about 45 cm.
- The fruit of this tree is small in size like a hen’s egg.
- The seed is hard, mottled gray and brown colour in appearance.
- The fruits are unripe and husky; they should be boiled in water and sun-dried before consumption.
Properties of Betel Leaves:
- Fat: 0.12 g
- Carbohydrates: 1.37 g
- Protein: 0.24 g
- Energy: 7 kcal
- The Minerals that are present in the betel leaves are Vitamin (B1, B2, B3, B6 and B9)
- Vitamins that are present in betel leaves are Iron, Selenium, Magnesium, Manganese, Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper and Sodium.
Cultivars / Varieties of Betel Leaves:
There are many varieties of betel plants which are farmed all over the world. These are mainly cultivated in countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In India commonly cultivated betel varieties are simurali, mahai, ambadi, karpoori, meethi, bangla, bhavana, mahoba, peshwar., tellaki, ramtek bangla, kali bangle, pachakodi and sanchi.
- These are popularly grown in various districts of West Bengal.
- The texture of these leaves is waxy and very thin.
- The shape of the leaf is oval.
- The specks on the leaves are pale yellow in colour.
- The aroma of the leaves is very different than the other betel leaf varieties.
- These are mainly cultivated in states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala etc.
- The leaves of the vines grow vigorously.
- The leaves are very narrow and oval in shape.
- The texture of the leaf is soft having a thin lamina.
- This variety has a good aroma.
- This variety has great demand in the market.
- This variety grows vigorously, but has a pungent smell.
- The leaves are dark green in colour with tinges of yellow.
- The leaves of this variety are cordate and round in shape.
- The texture of these leaves is very fibrous.
- This variety is medium – large in size.
- They are narrow but oval in shape.
- The lobes of the leaves are very less predominant.
- The colour of the leaves is very dark green in colour with pungent smell.
- This variety of leaf is mostly farmed in the wild.
- They are grown in the northeastern hilly areas of India.
- The leaf is either dark green or dull green in colour.
- It is one of the local varieties of betel.
- The short Internode length is one of the characteristic features of the betel leaf.
- The yield and productivity are also high.
Soil and Climate requirements for Betel Leaves Cultivation:
For farming the betel leaf we need fertile soil with better draining properties and also having rich organic matter content. Any soil, which is good can be used for farming the betel leaves. The clay soils are more suitable for farming the betel leaves. The betel leaves need a soil with balanced pH. The betel vines can’t tolerate the extreme climatic conditions. For betel farming, we should avoid saline or alkaline soils and also too light or deep soils should be avoided. Water logging should be avoided in the farm area.
The betel vine has good growth in cool climatic conditions. But it should receive well and plenty of sunshine and humid climate for better growth. The plants can tolerate extreme climates like heat or cold, but do not grow well. For good growth, moderate amount of rainfall is suitable for the plants.
Land preparation and Planting for Cultivation of Betel Leaves:
For betel leaf farming, we need to prepare the land. All the weeds, stones and any waste material of the previous crop should be removed. After all this, we need to plough the land thoroughly so that the soil attains fine tilth and becomes smooth. The ploughing can be done by using the bullock carts or tractor. After Ploughing, the land should be tilled and levelled. The soil should be supplied with farmyard manure so as to increase the soil fertility. We must construct good and proper drainage channels in the farm area. There should not be any problem due to water logging in the betel farming area.
The vine of the betel needs a support so five – six months earlier to the planting of the betel plants these stalks are installed. After all this we should plant the stems or cuttings. Immediately water the plants after planting.
The planting should be done in the months of November – December or in January – February.
Propagation method for Betel Leaf Plant:
The plant is propagated through cuttings; the cuttings should have one or two nodes with attached leaves. Furrows should be constructed, before planting the seeds or cuttings. The furrow width should be 50 cm. On the ridges, 2 – 3 rows of the bud vines should be planted along with the mother plant at a distance of 10 -15 cm. The seed rate per hectare of land should range between 1, 20,000 – 1, 60,000.
Manure and Fertilization method in Betel Leaves Cultivation:
The nutritional requirement of betel vines depends on the variety, soil and the climatic conditions of the region. Before applying the fertilizers a soil test should be done. So, that we can know the requirement of the fertilizers and nutrients required for the soil. Overdose of fertilizers may be harmful to the soil. Along with the organic manure the chemical fertilizers should also be applied to the soil. After fertilization, light irrigation should be given. Appropriate amounts of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus should be applied to the crop. To avoid deficiency we can also supply micronutrients like boron, copper, chloride, molybdenum, manganese, zinc, iron and nickel.
Irrigation methods for Growing Betel Leaves:
At the time of planting, the first irrigation should be given. Based on the moisture content in the soil, we should give the irrigation. Accordingly the irrigation should be given in the rainy season. For growing the betel leaves, water logging should be avoided as it may cause damage to the crop. The water should be drained out from the field in case of heavy rainfall. During the warm and humid climates, the irrigation should be given regularly. By using the sprinklers or drip irrigation system or by other methods we can save the water. The water, which is being used for irrigation should not be saline water.
Intercultural methods in Betel Leaf Plantation:
Weeding: The weeds which grow around the plants should be removed or destroyed because they spread disease and pests in plants. These weeds can be removed manually or by applying weedicides.
Mulching: The mulching can be done in both the ways: organic or inorganic. It helps the soil to conserve the moisture and keeps the land weed free.
Pruning: The criss cross branches and the diseased stems should be removed so that there will be good air flow around the plants.
Training: The betel plant can trellis by itself, but sometimes it can’t so it should be trained for trellising on to the walls and fencing and also the plant needs a support to the trellis.
Pest and Disease control measures in Betel Leaves Farming:
The common pests and diseases that affect the Betel Vine are:
Aphids: To control these Aphids we need to spray the chlorpyriphos in recommended quantities.
Mites: These mites can be controlled by spraying wettable sulphur spray.
Mealy bugs: For controlling the intensity of mealy bug the plants should be sprayed with Dimethoate solution.
Blight, spot and stem rot: Bordeaux mixture and streptocyclcine should be sprayed on the plants to control the blight, spot and stem rot.
Scale: By spraying the Malathion we can control the scale.
Powdery mildew: The wettable sulphur spray helps us in controlling the intensity of powdery mildew.
Wilt: At the time of sowing the seeds we need to treat the seed with Bordeaux mixture.
Harvesting techniques of Betel Leaves:
The harvesting can be done when the leaves get completely mature and attain right size. The harvesting of betel Leaves is done by manual process. While picking them, we should select the fresh and non – defective leaves. Mostly these are harvested during the months of January – June.
Post harvesting techniques after Betel Leaves Cultivation
Cleaning: The leaves should be cleaned as they might contain fertilizers. They should be washed and cleaned with a dry towel.
Sorting: Betel leaves should be sorted as per their shape and size.
Grading: These should be graded as per their colour and quality.
Yield of Betel Leaves:
The yield and quality of the leaves completely depend upon the cultural practices and crop management techniques. In a hectare of the land we can get an average yield of 75 – 100 Lakh leaves each year.