Introduction to Tulsi Farming Project Report (Holy Basil):
The following Information is about Tulsi Farming Project Report (Basil), Cultivation Economics, and Planting Methods.
Tulsi is considered to be a medicinal aromatic perennial plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family. It is binomially named as Ocimum Tenuiflorum and is native to the Indian Subcontinent. This plant is cultivated enormously throughout the Southeast Asian tropics. The Tulsi plant is considered mostly for religious and medicinal purposes in India. Tulsi plant is grown in almost every Indian household for the purpose of religious worship, but the commercial production of Tulsi finds its application in the manufacture of aromatic substances and essential oils.
These days basil or Tulsi is being cultivated extensively in France, Hungary, Indonesia, Morocco, Greece, Israel, and the United States.
This Tulsi farming project report discusses the requirements for the cultivation of Tulsi or holy basil and at the end of the document, one finds the cost or investment details for farming Tulsi in One acre of land and the approximate profits associated with it.
Tulsi Plant and its properties
The plant has an erect structure and is short lived. The plant is bushy in nature and grows to a height of 50 cm. The stem of the plant is herbaceous when young, but becomes woody as it ages or matures.
The leaves of the Tulsi plant are broad, oval-shaped and 5-8 cm long. Different types of this plant have different leaf color ranging from yellowish-green to bright green or red color. The leaves are either silky and shiny or dull and crinkly.
The Tulsi plant bears small white or purple colored flowers arranged in whorls at the ends of branches. These flowers appear mostly in the summer season.
The flowers on the plant produce seeds, which are self-sowing in nature and germinate very easily as there is no dormancy requirement. The color of the seeds is brown or black.
The essential parts of the plant are the leaves, stems and flowering tops.
Varieties/Cultivars of Tulsi
Commercial varieties of basil found around the world are differentiated on the basis of essential oil or dried leaves. The varieties are French basil (sweet in flavor; dark in color), American Basil (sweet, good quality leaf and rich color) and Egyptian basil (also known as African basil; has a camphoraceous fragrance; less expensive).
There are some cultivars that are grown from seeds such as sweet basil (sweet, Genovese, large-leaf, mammoth); purple foliage basil (dark opal, purple ruffles) and lemon basil (lemon-scented, lemon, and sweet dani)
In India, there are two varieties of basil cultivated on a large scale; they are Sri Tulsi (green type) and Krishna Tulsi (purple type). Other than the two varieties there is Drudriha Tulsi, Babi Tulsi, tukashmiya Tulsi, vana Tulsi, kapoor Tulsi available for farming in India.
Soil requirement for Tulsi Farming
Fertile soil with high organic content and having better draining properties is preferred for Tulsi cultivation. The pH range of the soil should be 4.3 to 8.2. The type of soils suitable for basil or Tulsi cultivation is a rich loam, poor laterite, saline, and alkaline soil. Too much alkalinity or salinity in the soil has to be avoided.
The climatic requirement for Growing Tulsi
The plants need a warm climate for growth, especially the climatic condition of sub-tropical regions are considered most suitable for Tulsi. The germination of Tulsi seeds needs a temperature of 20˚C and during the growing period of the plant, it needs an average temperature of 7 to 27˚C. It is observed that the plant is susceptible to frost and cold climate; it grows really well under full sun conditions. The Tulsi plant can also be cultivated or grown in shady conditions, but such plants produce leaves with low oil content.
The tissue of the plant is tender and it doesn’t tolerate drought conditions. The minimum annual rainfall required by the plants is around 700 mm. The plant can grow at an altitude of 900 m.
Propagation techniques of Tulsi Plants
Tulsi plant can be propagated either by seeds or by plant cuttings. Seed propagation is done by sowing them in suitably created nursery beds. The nursery beds have to be in a partial shade region with a sufficient supply of water. The soil in the nursery has to be worked to a depth of 30 cm and it should be prepared well by mixing 2 kg of FYM per sqm. A proper seedbed with approximate dimensions such as 4.5 x 1 x 0.2 m is prepared and the seeds are sown before the onset of monsoon. Germination of seeds starts in 8 to 12 days. The seeds have to be obtained from reputed dealers for cultivation and care should be taken to obtain fresh seeds for the farm.
The terminal cuttings are used for propagating the Tulsi plants vegetatively. This is generally done in the month of October-December. Cuttings of length 10-15 cm and having 8-10 nodes are used and planted in nursery beds or polythene bags. It takes 4-6 weeks for the cuttings to root into the soil. Propagating through terminal cuttings is expected to give 90-100% success when planted at the right time and during the right season.
Soil/land preparation for Tulsi Cultivation
It is always advisable to test the soil before starting the cultivation process so as to understand the requirements of the soil during farming. The land selected for Tulsi farming has to be brought to a fine tilth and it should be supplied with a recommended basal dose of fertilizers. To prepare the soil many techniques can be used such as ripping, plowing, harrowing, etc. Organic manure is also supplied to the soil at the time of preparation.
Planting methods of Tulsi
The seedlings that have grown in the nursery for almost 6 weeks should be obtained and transplanted into the main area. The minimum plant spacing recommended for Tulsi farming is 15 to 30 cm and the width of each row has to be maintained at 50 cm to 1 m. The beds for double bed planting system should have 0.5 to 1.2 meters width and this is generally used during mechanical cultivation process. Commercial cultivation of Tulsi is assumed to have a planting density of 60,000 to 90,000 plants per hectare.
Direct seeding on the farm area can also be practiced with a planting depth of 3 to 6 mm and with spacing between seeds is maintained around 5 cm. Sowing the seed to a proper depth and with proper spacing ensures the seed germination rate to be approximately 80-90%. Light irrigation has to be provided immediately after transplanting the seedlings.
Manure and fertilizer requirements for Growing Tulsi
Tulsi needs proper nutrition frequently for proper growth. FYM @ 10 tonnes/ha is supplied to the soil before planting the seedlings. The compost has to be decomposed properly before use and never use fresh compost made out of city waste. The recommended dose of fertilizers required for the plants is 120 kg of N, 60 kg of P₂O₅ and K₂O per hectare. Initially, as a basal application, half dose of nitrogen and the entire dose of potassium and phosphorous is applied. The remaining amount of nitrogen is applied in two split doses after the first and second cutting. The plants also need micronutrients so as to help increase the oil content in the leaves. The two main micronutrients needed by the plants are cobalt and manganese @ 50 and 100 ppm respectively. The recommended fertilizer dose of saline and alkaline soil may vary a little from the normal recommendations.
Care should be taken not to over-fertilize the plants otherwise there would be fertile vegetal growth, but the flavor of the leaves is reduced. Fertilizing the plants moderately will produce good quality leaves.
Irrigation needs for Growing Tulsi
Regular irrigation or rain is definitely required by the plants throughout the entire growing period. Irrigation should be provided through sprinklers or drip irrigation system. A drip system of irrigation helps prevent foliar diseases in the plants. Water has to be provided to the plants based on the season and soil condition. 3 irrigations per month are given to the plants in the hot summer season and during the winter, irrigation is provided as and when required. No irrigation is provided in the rainy months. On average the plants may require 12 to 15 irrigation cycles throughout the year. So as to help water retention in the soil, it should be mulched properly and contaminated water should never be used in the farm area.
Plant protection measures or Tulsi Plant Care
Tulsi plant is not prone to serious pests and diseases, but some commonly occurring pests are beetles, slugs, leaf miners, caterpillars, grasshoppers, thrips, white fly, etc. The plant can be infected by some fungal organisms, bacterial pathogens, and nematodes. The control measures recommended during Tulsi farming to avoid the occurrence and spread of pests and diseases are:
- Always try and use natural pest control measures.
- Follow a regular pest management schedule.
- Monitor the crops regularly.
- Use organic control options like mulch, insecticidal soaps, plant extracts, traps, water spray, vacuuming, hand picking, etc.
- Remove and destroy the diseased parts of the plants as and when observed.
- Poor draining soil or wet soil conditions have to be avoided for planting.
- Keep the harvest equipment sterilized.
Intercultural activities of Tulsi
The time interval between weeding is maintained at 4 weeks and the first one is done one month after the transplanting. As the plants become bushy, no further weeding is required. To prevent weeds in the farm area cultivation practices like high planting density, shallow cultivation, less row spacing, and mulching are done. Weeds can be controlled in either way, i.e. mechanical or manual. Some weed control measures are:
- Never allow weeds to form seed in the land.
- Practicing no-till results in fewer weeds.
- Plant canopy development can reduce the occurrence of weeds.
- Practice ploughing the land in the night to avoid weed seed germination.
Harvesting of Tulsi
Extreme care is needed while harvesting Tulsi so as to avoid contamination at this stage. Sterilize the equipment and use it for harvesting and also maintain the collecting bins or baskets clean. The time of harvest is an important factor on which the quality and quantity of oil production depend. High oil is obtained during sunny days and so harvesting is done during bright sunny days. When the plant is in full bloom period, i.e. after 90-95 days of planting, it is then harvested. No harvesting should be done during the rain or if it has rained just one or two days before the harvesting. Sickles are used for harvesting and different parts of the plants are harvested differently. The flower tops are harvested to produce flower oil, which is superior quality oil and the leaves are harvested to produce herb oil.
Subsequent harvest is done after 65-75 days from the previous harvest. Generally, the entire plant is harvested leaving only 15 cm of the stem from the ground level. The floral harvest is done from the top of the plant and usually, 3-4 floral harvests are obtained from each crop.
The yield of Tulsi per Hectare
It is believed that one hectare of Tulsi farm produces approximately 10,000 kgs of fresh leaves, thereby producing 10-20 kgs of essential oil per hectare of land. Under irrigated conditions, the plants produce a higher yield, i.e. 20 tonnes of herbage and 40 kgs of oil per hectare. The flowers produced per hectare of land are around 3-4 tonnes (producing approximately 25-32 kg of oil).
Post-harvest management of Tulsi Crop
Handling the leaves or produce after the harvest decides the end quality of the aromatic substance. Leaves are washed and cleaned thoroughly after harvest; the weeds and extraneous materials are removed from the leaves or herbage. The harvest is then allowed to wilt for almost 2 to 4 days (at 40˚C) such that the moisture content and bulkiness are lowered.
Hydro-distillation or steam distillation is done to obtain the oil from the young inflorescence or the whole herb. Steam distillation takes less time to process the leaves and is mostly preferred practice. The moisture content from the distilled oil is removed by treating it with 20 g of anhydrous sodium sulphate or common salt for every liter of oil.
The oil is stored in airtight fluorinated plastic, treated aluminium, dark glass or ceramic containers. A cool and dry place is chosen for storing these containers. To increase the shelf life of fresh basil leaves, they can be stored at a temperature of 8 to 10˚C. The leaves are sensitive to chilling and may show signs of blackening or loss of aroma when stored at much lower temperatures.
Grading, packing, and sale of Tulsi produce
Grading is done on the basis of aroma and freshness of the leaves because for the production of essential oil, good quality produce is needed. The color, aroma, and texture are the three important factors to grade the quality of produce in the market.
Fresh leaves of Tulsi are soft and can be easily damaged by dehydration, chilling ad rough handling. Therefore, fresh leaves are packed in bunches and put into propylene bags to avoid damage. Dried Tulsi leaves are packed in small containers after stripping the leaves from the stem and drying them under required conditions.
The dry leaves are generally used by food processing industries and the market for dried leaves determines the quality of the product on the basis of taste, flavor, moisture content and appearance.
In the case of commercial cultivation of tulsi, you better look for contract farming with popular herbal companies. Buyback agreement or Contract Farming of Tulsi should be arranged well-before you start growing Tulsi for better marketing prospects.
Cost and profit analysis of Tulsi Farming / Economics Of Tulsi Cultivation
Tulsi Farming Project Report:
The analysis is made for 1 acre of land for Tulsi farming project report. The values presented here are approximate values and may vary slightly from the original. If the region receives plenty of rainfall, then not much irrigation facilities are provided in the farm area. If there the farming is carried out in scanty rainfall areas, then a drip irrigation system is deployed to water the plants regularly. The cost of installing a drip system is around Rs 35,000-50,000 per acre.
Assumptions of Tulsi Farming Project Report:
Cost of Tulsi seeds for planting: Rs 250.
Labor charges per day: Rs 300.
|Material and labor||Investment in Rs|
|Approximately 1 kg of seeds as planting material||250.00|
|Fertilizers and micronutrients||2000.00|
|Plant protection chemicals (fungicides and pesticides)||1500.00|
|Land preparation and layout management||1250.00|
|Nursery bed preparation and planting||1800.00|
|Transplanting labor charges||1800.00|
|Weeding and hoeing||1800.00|
|Application of fertilizers||1000.00|
|Application of plant protection chemicals||1000.00|
|Other miscellaneous charges||2000.00|
The total yield of fresh leaves from the farm: 3000 kg after one year.
The sale price of fresh leaves: Rs 15 per kg.
Total income from the farm after one year: (total yield x sale price per unit).
(3000 x 15) = Rs 45,000.
Profit from the farm: (total income – total charges).
(Rs 45,000 – Rs 21,400) = Rs 23,600.
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The yield from the plant increases every subsequent year and the plants also produce seeds and oil as by-products. These by-products also have good market value and are sold for profit. If the farm has a distillation set up and the leaves are processed to produce essential oils, then larger returns can be expected.
All different varieties of Tulsi have approximately the same cost of cultivation, but with a little variation with the price of the planting material and yield. The above mentioned Tulsi farming project report in India is just a model report.
Loans and Subsidies for Tulsi Farming project In India
National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB) under the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India provides a subsidy to the farmers for the cultivation and management of medicinal crops. The subsidy is provided on the basis of species as defined by the organization as is clearly mentioned in the NMPB website. Tulsi, the Ocimum Sanctum Linn. Species is provided a subsidy of 30% under the National AYUSH Mission (NAM). AYUSH provides support to the farmers in different sectors such as cultivation, nursery management, post-harvest management, machinery, etc. depending largely on the requirement of the farm.
Read: Spirulina Farming.