Aloe vera is a plant species of the genus aloe. It contain about 500 species of flowering succulent plants. The leaf of aloe vera is succulent, erect and form a dense gel in it. Aloe vera gel has many medicinal values and it often used in creams and lotions. It is cultivated primarily as the crop for Aloe gel which comes from the leaf.
Aloe vera is an important medicinal plant. it is a perennial plant, which grow to a height of 2 to 2.5 feet. The leaf of aloe vera is long and thick which contain gel. The length of the leaves ranges from 20 to 30 cm and the breadth range of the leaf is 3 to 4 CM. Generally aloe vera is not propagated through the seeds but it is propagated by vegetative propagation because it is easy and convenient.
Aloe vera Farming
The plant aloe vera is native to Africa and Mediterranean region. it belongs to the Liliaceae family. Africa, China, USA, Australia, Mexico, tropical region of Latin America and the South part of India are the major producer of aloe vera around the world.
Climate Requirement for aloe vera farming
Aloe vera is a warm tropical plant. For the cultivation of aloe vera, hot and humid climate is ideal but aloe vera can be grown in any climatic condition. Aloe vera plant cannot survive in cold condition. This plant is very sensitive to the extreme cold condition. This plant is also cannot tolerate frost.
Temperature between 25° Celsius to 40° Celsius is very good for the aloe vera cultivation where rainfall about 350 mm to 400 mm is ideal. At the time of sowing the temperature should have 30° Celsius to 35° Celsius and at the time of harvesting temperature should have 25° Celsius to 35° Celsius is necessary.
Sandy soil to loamy soil is good for the aloe vera farming. It require light soil for the proper growth. It cannot with stand with the soil which hold the water at one place and because it cannot tolerate the water logging in the field. Aloe vera plant grow well with the soil pH range upto 8.5 and the plant also thrives well with the higher foliage.
Planting method of Aloe vera
Vegetative propagation is done in the aloe vera farming because it is easy and convenient. The process of propagation is done through root suckers or rhizome cutting.
In the root suckers propagation, should select medium size root suckers and should carefully dig without damaging the main plant at the base. After that, this root suckers can be planted in the main field directly.
In the rhizome cutting propagation, harvest the crop, dig the underground rhizome and make about 5 to 7 cm length cutting with 2 to 3 nodes on them. Generally about 20,000 suckers are required for the one acre of nursery.
Land propagation is dependent upon the soil type. Root of aloe vera did not enter below 20 to 30 cm plough the field throughly and make the soil more fine and tilt. About 20 tons of well rotten farm yard manure should be apply to increase the fertility of soil during the last plough. Form ridge and furrow for planting of suckers at 45 or 55 cm apart.
Time of sowing :- July August is the best time of sowing. sowing can be done around the year except in the winter month because winter month is not the time for the cultivation of aloe vera plant. Aloe vera plant cannot tolerate the cold temperature.
Spacing :- 45 cm into 45 cm and 60 cm into 30 cm is good for the proper growth of aloe vera.
Showing depth :- Depth of 15 cm is good to the plant. 3 to 4 month old suckers are required for the cultivation of aloe vera.
Seed rate :- Around 20,000 suckers are required for 1 acre land.
Seed treatment :- Healthy suckers should have used for the cultivation. 3 to 4 month old suckers are good for the cultivation of aloe vera having 4 to 5 leaves are used as planting.
NPK @ 20:20:20 kg/acre. Urea required 44 kg per acre, SSP require 125 kg per acre and mariate of potash required 34 kg per acre.
Apply 60-70 quintal per acre of FYM (farm yard manure) at the time of land preparation. Apply basal dose of NPK @ 20:20:20 kg per acre in the form of Urea @ 44 kg per acre SSP @ 125 kg per acre and MOP @ 34 kg per acre.
Hand weeding is the primary method of weeding. Weeding is done at proper interval. Generally weeding is done twice in a year.
Irrigation in aloe vera farming
Aloe vera farming can be grown in under rainfed condition and irrigated condition. During the summer season, couples of irrigation will result the good yield and in rainy season we should avoid the water logging in the field as aloe vera plant is sensitive to water logging.
Apply irrigation with interval of 2 weeks during the summer but in the rainy season it does not require an irrigation. Irrigation must be done just after the planting the suckers. Overwater in the aloe vera field is harmful for the crops.
Basal stem rot, bacterial soft rot and aloe rust are the some pest and disease found easily in aloe vera farming. The leaf started yellowing and withering by mealy bug which is caused by lepidocephalus and pseudococcus.
Methyl parathion @ 10 ml and Quinaphos @ 20 ml in 10 litre of water is applied on the root and shoot of aloe vera plant. Anthracnose is a disease that caused by dieback or twig cankers in aloe vera, spraying of 30% Neem Oil helps to cure from the disease.
The plant of aloe vera will be ready in second year of planting. Fresh leaves of 3 to 4 can be picked. The process of picking the aloe vera leaves should be in the morning or evening. There are three harvests can be done in one year. 3 to 4 leaves cut from each plant. The leaves are regenerated and it can be harvested up to 5 years.
Storage of aloe vera
Plant should be kept in dry and cool place to prevent fomentation or mould growth.
About 40 to 50 tons of thick leaves can be obtained from one hectare land.
Improved variety of aloe vera in India
Aloe barbedensis perfoliata, A. abyssinica, A. chinensis, A. littorlis, A. indica, A. vulgaris, AI-1etc.
Major producer of aloe vera in India
Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, Kerala are the largest producer of aloe vera in India.
Benefits of aloe vera
> Aloe vera is an antibiotic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral.
> It is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
> It is very good for the skin treatment.
> It is used in Quest cosmetics
> Aloe vera helps in detoxification process.
> It helps in boosting the immune system.
> It is high in amino acid and fatty acid.
> It helps in digestion because it contains aloin which is an anthraquinose.
> It helps in wound healing.