It is perhaps not known to many that India is the second largest producer of garlic in the world with the state of Madhya Pradesh contributing a staggering 62 percent of the total production in the country. It is estimated that Madhya Pradesh recorded over 2 million metric tonnes production in 2022 alone.
Madhya Pradesh has become a robust agricultural and food processing hub of India in the past 9 years. Small and marginal farmers have seen a significant rise in their income with the incorporation of pro – farmer schemes, subsidies, seed management, drip irrigation, organic, natural and zero farming techniques, drone monitoring, regular soil health checks and soil rejuvenation and the newly introduced PM Micro Food Industries Upgradation Scheme.
With greater impetus on cold storages, food processing plants and logistical support, farmers have now been encouraged to grow cash crops like spices and medicinal and aromatic plants. Garlic known as safed sona (white gold) in particular is cultivated in over 1.6 lakh hectares in the districts of Ratlam, Neemuch, Mandsaur and others.
Mandsaur garlic (Allium sativum L.) is hugely popular across the state for its pungency, taste, high oil content and long shelf life (approximately 15 months) that are attributed to the favourable agro – climatic conditions (prevailing weather conditions and potash and water holding capacity of the soil in this district). This garlic is used both as a food ingredient as well as a medicine (rich in antioxidants and has antimicrobial properties).
The various varieties of garlic grown here are Yamuna Safed – (G – 1), Yamuna Safed – 2 (G – 50), Yamuna Safed – 3 (G – 282) and Yamuna Safed – 4 (G – 323) among others. Cultivated as both as a kharif (planted in June – July and harvested in October – November) and rabi (planted in September – November and harvested in March), Mandsaur garlic is exported to Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Garlic from this district is sold as fresh garlic, garlic powder, garlic oil, garlic paste, garlic pickle and dehydrated flakes to mention a few. There is tremendous potential to increase the value – added products and export value.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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