Are you interested in starting an aloe vera farming business? More and more people are getting into aloe vera plantations as the demand for aloe vera is increasing with the growth of herbal product-based companies. Here in this article, we will walk you through the steps of starting a commercial aloe vera farm.
Aloe Vera plants are basically tropical succulent plants. You can grow plants both in tropical and subtropical regions. A frost-free zone is perfect for cultivation. The scientific name of aloe vera is Aloe Barbadensis Miller. Aloe Barbadensis Miller is one of over 250 known species of aloe.
In addition, it is an important and traditional medicinal herb. Aloe vera is a hardy perennial tropical plant.
The major producing countries of this type of plant are China, the U.S.A., Mexico, Australia, India, and some Latin American countries.
Some of the popular names of aloe vera are Cape aloe, Aloe Curacao, Barbados Aloe, Venezuela Aloe, Indian Alces, Ghirita, Lu hui, and Star Cactus.
Is Aloe Vera Farming Profitable?
Even a small-scale aloe vera farm is an economically viable project. Furthermore, it contains a mixture of glucosides collectively called ‘aloin’. It is the active constituent of the drug.
Aloin and its gel are used as the skin tonic. In addition, it has a cooling effect and moisturizing agent. So it is useful in the preparation of creams, lotions, shampoos, and allied products. It is also used in gerontology and the rejuvenation of aging skin.
The leaves of Aloe Vera are used for the treatment of facial edema or swelling. Furthermore, its fluid is beneficial in reducing inflammation and pain. In addition, it is an essential item in cosmetics and even in the food industry.
Therefore, some of the popular value-added products are aloe vera juice, gel, face wash, face pack, etc. Also, it is a very popular potted plant and is used heavily as an indoor decoration. Therefore, aloe vera cultivation is a profitable business.
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
- First of all, aloe vera is detoxifying.
- It supports the immune system.
- In addition, it helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
- Aloe vera is excellent for skin treatment and cosmetic use.
- Aloe vera is rich in amino acids and fatty acid
- It is excellent for digestion
- Finally, taking aloe vera is an easy way to boost your vitamin and mineral intake.
Things To Consider in Commercial Aloe Vera Cultivation
- In starting aloe vera cultivation, first, ensure how much land you have.
- Secondly, calculate input costs as capital investment.
- Find the market for your product.
- Check whether the agroclimatic condition is suitable for aloe vera cultivation.
- Check the soil quality. You must go for soil analysis.
- Finally, arrange proper irrigation, manure, and plant protection inputs.
Improved Varieties For Aloe Vera Farming
Commercially important sub-species are Aloe Barbedensis, A. Chinensis, A. Perfoliata, A. Vulgaris, A Indica, A. Littoralis, and A. Abyssinica. Also, you can find varieties like IC111271, IC111269, IC111280, etc. from National Botanical and Plant Genetic Resource, ICAR.
Ideal Location & Agro Climatic Condition for Aloe Vera Cultivation
Aloe has wide adaptability and can grow in various climatic conditions. In addition, you can grow the plant equally well in warm humid, or dry climates. However, it is intolerant to extremely cool conditions. The plant flourishes well on dry sandy soils at localities with a lower annual rainfall of 50 to 300mm. Furthermore, it needs protection against frost and low winter temperatures.
Suitable Soil For Aloe Vera Cultivation
First of all, you can grow the plant in a variety of soils ranging from sandy coastal soils to loamy soils or plains. It is sensitive to waterlogged conditions. The crop also comes up well in light soils. It can tolerate higher pH and high Na and K salts.
Growth is faster under medium fertile, heavy soils such as black cotton soils. In well-drained, loam to coarse sandy loam in a pH range up to 8.5, it grows well with higher foliage.
6 Basic Steps of Aloe Vera Farming
1. Soil Preparation
First of all, you must plow and cross-plow the land thoroughly. You can add farmyard manure properly. Additionally, you can follow the ridges and furrows method for plantation.
You can grow the plant both under irrigated and rainfed conditions. The provision of irrigation immediately after planting and during the summer season will ensure good yields. However, the plants are sensitive to waterlogged conditions.
The crop responds well to the application of farmyard manure and compost. In the first year of the plantation, you can apply FYM @15 t/ha during the land preparation. During the subsequent years, the same dose of FYM is applied every year. Besides, you can apply 50:50:50 kg/ha of N:P: K as basal dose.
4. Weed Control
You must remove the weeds regularly from your cultivated land. Generally, you can do it manually. In the subsequent years, two wedding cum light hoeing each year are sufficient to minimize the weed population.
In order to facilitate a healthy soil atmosphere, you must do soil works like spading, earthing up, etc. in aloe plantations.
5. Plant Protection
The fungus-causing leaf spot disease is common in aloe vera plants. This affects the yield and quality of the gel adversely. However, you can control the disease by spraying recommended fungicides.
6. Harvesting & Yield In Aloe Vera Farming
You can start harvesting when the leaves are thick and fleshy. Generally, you can harvest three times a year. However, you can only remove three to four leaves per plant. Harvesting is labor-intensive. Only morning and evening are the right time for harvesting. The leaves will regenerate from the scar.
Thus you can harvest the crop up to 5 years after planting. Apart from leaves, the side suckers, which can be used as planting material, can also be sold.
Yield may be as high as 50 – 55 tonnes of thick fleshy leaves from the one-hectare plantation. However, a conservative yield of about 40 t/ha may be considered for working out the day viability of bankable schemes. Furthermore, you can sell the suckers from about 55-60% of the plants annually.
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