Monday, November 2, 2009

VEGETABLES

Vegetables of one kind or other are grown practically all over the world at least for domestic use if not for trade and export. However, in recent times, international trade in this commodity is increasing.

Tuber crops may be tropical (cassav~ and yarns) or sub-tropical (sweet potatoes) and temperate (potatoes). Nigeria and other West African countries are the largest producers of yams. Russia, Poland and China are major producers of potato.

Root crops' such as .carrots, beets, and turnips are grown mainly in cool temperate climates.

Tomatoes grow in warm temperate regions.
Mushrooms also grow in temperate climes, though some varieties may be grown in warmer regions.

India produces 10 per cent of the world onion crop, and is the third largest exporter of this vegetable.

SPICES
Spices flavour food and supply nutrients. A wide variety of spices are grown, mainly in the tropical and sub­ tropical lands.

India is the largest producer (as well as consumer) of spices on the whole.

Pepper is perhaps the most important of the spices. A plant of the humid tropics, it grows' best in well-drained clay loam soil, rich in humus, and flourishes in warm, moist climate. An annual rainfall of 2500 mm and temperature around 10 °C to 40°C is ideal for its cultivation. Red, laterite virgin soil on the slopes of the Western Ghats is also suitable for growing pepper. The pepper cultivation of Indi~ is concentrated in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Pepper also comes from Malaysia, Cambodia and Indone­sia.

Chilli
is the pod of a small plant which grows in Asia and' tropical America. Ground dried chilli is called red or cayenne pepper. It was introduced in India in the 17th century from Brazil. Moderate rainfall of 600 to 1250 mm and a temperature range of 10-30 °C are the su.itable climatic conditionS for chilli cultivation. Heavy rainfall and frost affect the crop adversely. The rainfed crop does well on deep, fertile, well-drained black cotton soils and some­what heavy clayey loams. With some irrigation provision, chilli can also be grown on sandy and light alluvial lo~ms and red loamy soils. Most of the states in India produce chillies to some extent. But the main p~oducers among them are Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

Cinnamon is the dried inner bark of a species of laurel and comes mainly from Sri Lanka. Karnataka and Kerala produce it in India.

Cloves
are dried flower buds of the clove tree, and come mainly from the islands of Pemba and Zanzibar of the East African coast, as well as from South-East Asia. Karnataka is a major producer in India.
Nutmeg is the seed of a tree which originally came from Indonesia, which is still the main producer. Some nutmeg also comes from the West Indies. Karnataka produces it in India.

Cardamom
is considered as the "Queen of Spices". The seeds contain 2-8 per cent of a strongly aromatic volatile oil. The cardamom plant thrives best in tropical fQrests at altitudes ranging from 600-1500 metres, receiving a well distributed rainfall of over 1500 mm and a temperature range of 10-35 °c. It thrives best in the shade provided by the forest trees. The crop is raised chiefly on welt-drained rich forest loam and red, deep, good-textured lateritic soils having plenty of humus or leaf mould. India is the largest producer and exporter of cardamom. Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are major producers of the spice.

Vanilla
, a flavouring used in cakes, ice-cream and other cooked food, is obtained from the seeds of an orchid, native to the South American forests and now produced mainly in Mexico, Malagasy and Indonesia.

Ginger is mainly grown for its aromatic rhizomes, and used as a spice as well as, medicine. Ginger is believed to be a native of China. It requires high temperatures and enough rainfall (1250 to 2500 mm). A certain amount of shade is considered to be favourable for plant growth; Rich and well-drained soil is suitable for its cultivation. Sandy or clayey loams and red loams and laterites of the Malabar coast are ideal soils. India is the largest producer of dry ginger. Kerala and Meghalaya are major producers. Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal and Orissa also produce ginger.

Turmeric is the dried rhizome of a herbaceous peren­nial and is a native of India or China. An important condiment and a useful dye, it is used in drug and cosmetic industries. Warm and humid climate is essential for the
turmeric crop. In regions of heavy rainfall tracts of the west.
coast, it is grown as a rainfed crop, and in other areas it is cultivated under irrigation. Turmeric thrives in well­drained, fertile, sandy and clayey, black, red or alluvial loams rich in humus and uniform in texture. Rich loamy soils having natural drainage and irrigation facilities are the best. It cannot stand water stagnation or alkalinity. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the main contributors of turmeric. Other major producers are Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh.

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