Brinjal (Baigan / Vange / Ringan) Cultivation and farming in india
Among all the crops which are widely cultivated in India, the brinjal is one of the few crops which is consumer specific. What I mean is that the variety of brinjal grown in one state or even one district may not be preferred in another area. Farmers often make the mistake of cultivating a newer variety of brinjal for the market at a large scale to find that it’s impossible to sell their products unless they bring down the product price to below what is profitable.
When it comes to brinjal, there are hundreds of varieties. from the indigenous varieties to the hybrids and lately, the BT variety which is banned in India. Each variety is visibly different from the other so a person with some knowledge can determine the variety of brinjal they are looking at. as such there are at least 10-15 varieties of indigenous varieties which are all different. Some are green and long while there are others which are green striped, green round purple round, purple oval, purple long, etc. The hybrid varieties are an extension of the indigenous varieties with almost the same features but with a high yield or better size.
Brinjals are easy crops to cultivate and are usually one of the few horticulture crops which is [referred to by farmers. nevertheless, brinjals require a lot of attention in terms of pest and disease management, nutrition and irrigation. Fortunately, with the right variety, the profits in farming brinjal are high. Being a vegetable which is consumed regularly in India, the eggplant or aubergine or brinjal is one of the few vegetables on the grocery lists of most homes at least once a fortnight.
With that in perspective, let’s look at the international market. China is the largest producer of brinjals in the world. India stands second in brinjal production with a 23% market share worldwide. 7 Lakh hectares cultivate brinjal every year in India producing 12200000 metric tonnes of brinjal. That’s 1 crore 22 Lakh metric tonnes of brinjal a year. The productivity per acre remains at 17428 kg per hectare which is 17 and a half tonnes of produce per hectare.
Very few crops have the potential for that kind of yield. producing 17 tonnes of food from one hectare is usually an astonishing feat. that would be 7 tonnes of food per acre. in comparison, paddy is usually 2-3 tonnes per acre and wheat and wheat average about the same quantity.
- Climate for Cultivation: Cultivation of brinjal is possible in almost all climatic conditions but it’s best when the temperature is between 20 and 35 degrees for the best growth of the plant. Too high or too low temperatures can affect the growth of the plant and overall yield. Fortunately, most parts of the country have this weather condition in India at some point in time and for an extended period. for instance, Gujarat has suitable weather conditions from august to February. Kerala and Tamilnadu have the temperature required almost throughout the year except for a short period during peak summer seasons. the only places where it’s not feasible to cultivate brinjals are cold areas like Kashmir and parts of Himachal. but even in Jammu and Kashmir, the summers are suitable for brinjal cultivation.
- Ideal Soil for Cultivation: Well-drained soil of any kind is suitable for brinjal cultivation. this is the primary reason for the abundance of brinjal cultivation in India. As long as you add enough organic matter to the soil in the form of farm yard manure and compost, brinjal cultivation is possible in any kind of soil. Black soil to clay soil is perfect for the cultivation of brinjal. Clay soil is found to have better yield and sandy loam soil is known to have excellent growth and foliage, which in turn results in better production and yield.
- Varieties of brinjal. There are three common types of brinjal seeds available in the market out of which one variety, the BT is not legal. Though the seeds are available in the market in black, these seeds are not recommended. The other 2 varieties are the desi, indigenous varieties and hybrids. the Indigenous types have over 30-40 varieties in them with varied shapes and sizes. The same applies to hybrids too. For commercial cultivation, hybrids are recommended. Hybrid varieties have higher yields and are pest resistant. some varieties are known to be immune to certain diseases common in brinjal too. Choosing the right variety depends on what sells in the market. Check your local market for what is selling and go for the same or similar variety. for example, If you find long green brinjals in the sale opt for the same type from a hybrid.
- Propagation: Propagation is recommended in a nursery. You will need 18700 plants to fill an acre or 7570 plants to fill an acre. You will need sufficient Pro-Tray to propagate the plants. each pro-tray usually contains space for 100 saplings. depending on the plants require to arrange for pro-trays-. The plants should germinate in a shaded area and remain so for one whole month. plants are transplanted in 35 days and the plants should be protected from direct sun during this period. a green shade is recommended during this phase. While propagating treating the seeds and the medium with Azospirillium and Phosphobacteria is recommended. Mixing neem cake will prevent root-related problems while it acts as a fertilizer too. Cocopeat is the primary medium for growing saplings.
- Season: Brinjal is an all-season crop and you can grow them throughout the year. In places where there is a possibility of frost, avoid the season. colder weather results in poor plant growth and yield. in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra and Karnataka, the time for sowing is December-January and May – June.
Land Preparation: For commercial cultivation, brinjal plants are best grown with mulching sheets and drip irrigation. wedding costs and manpower can be reduced with mulching sheets. Mulching sheets also reduce a lot of diseases associated with weeds. Drip irrigation reduces the cost of fertilizer application when fertilizers are applied through irrigation. the Land is tilled twice and the soil is made loose. Prepare the soil a week before the planned transplant. setup drip irrigation and mulching sheets before the transplant.
- Planting, Spacing and Density: once the plants reach 35 days, replant the sapling to the field. The distance recommended for each variety varies. for hybrids, a recommended space of 60 centimetres between plants and 90 centimetres between rows is recommended. with 75 centimetre distance between paired rows. once the plants are transplanted, provide irrigation. Fertilizers are not required during the first 10 days.
- Intercropping: When it comes to the commercial cultivation of brinjal, farmers do not prefer intercropping. Rotational cropping every year or the next season is recommended but intercropping is limited to plants which are very different. Being a nightshade plant, brinjal shares the same characteristics as many other plants like tomatoes. But being vulnerable to a range of pests, it’s important to keep brinjal plants from other pest-attacking plants. Intercropping with chillies will attract aphids and thrips to the farm and most other crops have their pests which they attract and in turn attack your brinjal plants too. Some plants though are excellent and do not affect brinjal crops. for instance turmeric and ginger. Unfortunately, these plants require a completely different set of requirements to brinjal which makes brinjal an unsuitable crop for intercropping with them.
- Irrigation: irrigate when the soil is dry. Keep the soil moist but not wet. This could be once a week or once in 10 days and some conditions every alternative day. irrigation in your area will depend on 2 major factors. Climatic condition and soil. If your soil has more clay, chances are it will retain water for a longer period. Irrigate it only once in 3-4 days or even a week. If you have sandy coarse soil and water retention is low, irrigate more frequently. Do not allow the plants to go into water stress. too little or too much will hamper plant growth.
- Fertilizers: Fertilizers are key to the growth of any plant, not just brinjal. Regular application of fertilizer in a prescribed manner ensures that the plants grow fast, and healthy and bear the fruits in the expected quantity. Especially for hybrid plants, the requirement for fertilizer is very important. Hybrid plants are in general fertilizer hungry and need all the nutrients they can get to grow bigger, and faster. brinjal requires fertilizers from the 10th day of replanting. the second application in the vegetative stage at 30 days and then on flower initiation to first picking, usually on the 70th day and during harvest. For a full fertilizer, the schedule refers: Tnau.ac.in.
- Pests: Fruit and shoot borers are the most common pests in brinjal. They can be controlled by a range of pesticides including azadirachtin, Phosalone, Quinalphos etc. Refer to the pests and pest control section in agritech websites for more information and how to apply. Preventive application of neem oil-based spray is recommended once a week. Other common pests and diseases include nematode, Damping disease, Epilachna beetle, Ash Weevil, Aphid, Red Spider Mite, Leaf spot, Little Leaf etc.
Training and Pruning: Though training and pruning are known to induce more branching and produce flowering and fruiting, most farmers are unable to train or prune brinjals in commercial cultivations. fortunately, hybrid plants branch out well even with little intervention; thus, no pruning or training is practised.
- Harvesting: Harvesting begins from the second month of transplanting if the fertilizer schedule is well maintained. Harvesting should be done every 4-5 days and tender fruits should be picked before the fruit seeds start to mature. Fruits with seeds or mature seeds are not good for the market and will usually be rejected.
- Post Harvest: Brinjal is usually sent to the market directly as soon as possible. Picking brinjals in late evenings or early mornings are recommended to retain better weight. Since brinjals are rarely ever processed as packed produce, and only sold as fresh produce, mandi is the best source to sell your brinjal in the market.
- Yield: the yield of brinjals varies from variety to variety. For indigenous types, the yield will be lower than usual but these plants require lesser fertilizers and are immune to a lot of pests. the yield in indigenous varieties ranges from 3-4 tonnes per acre and sometimes even lower. the high-yielding varieties often promise 5-6 tonnes per acre.
- Area of cultivation: West Bengal is the largest producer of brinjals in India. other states which cultivate brinjal include Orissa, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra, Karnataka and Bihar.
Market information: The market is always open for brinjal producers. Though the market fluctuates a lot when it comes to price, there is always a requirement for brinjals. Keep in mind that the brinjal variety in demand in your area will not be in demand in a nearby state or district. If you are cultivating a variety, ensure that the variety is well-established and sold in your area.
- Weed Control: Weed control measures should be taken seriously in brinjal cultivation for at least the first 2 months till the plant is established and the ground is covered. The use of a mulching sheet is recommended to reduce the cost of weeding and manpower.
- Seed: brinjal seeds, especially hybrids are available in the market and can be purchased from a local vendor. They are available from companies like Mahyco, VNR and sappan seeds. VNR and Mahyco seeds have been known to be extremely effective and yield high.