countries engaged in the production of ginger. Since ginger cultivation and processing is labor intensive, most of the African countries have neglected this crop, and consequently they are not very active now in the world market. However, many other countries have entered into the field, and the number has almost doubled to date. The average share of newcomers in total production during the recent past (1998 to 2001) is 16.21%, and is rapidly increasing. Among the newcomers, Indonesia, which started production around 1981, accounts for about 10% of total world production, but the share of other newcomers was not that significant (6.2%) during the same period. However, it is a fact that many new countries are becoming interested in the production of ginger, and many have entered into the production arena during the last 5 to 6 years (Datta et al., 2003).

Area Expansion

An analysis of world scenario for growth in terms of acreage under ginger reveals:

• China recorded the highest growth in acreage during 1991 to 2002 (10.969%) among all ginger-producing countries. Indonesia and India, the other major producers, to show a moderate growth of 5.6% and 3.06%, respectively, during the same period.

• Other countries showing considerable growth in land under ginger during this period are Sri Lanka (0.26%), the United States (5.92%), Costa Rica (7.57%), Mauritius (1.31%), Bangladesh (1.34%), and Nigeria (5.8%). On the other hand, countries like Uganda ( — 20.35%), Fiji ( — 8.29%), Pakistan ( — 13%), and Jamaica ( — 10.41%) have experienced a rapid decline in acreage during this period. Most of these countries were newcomers.

• The Philippines ( — 3.35%), Nepal ( — 3.35%), are Thailand (—4.69%) are the other countries to record comparatively less decline in acreage.

• An interesting phenomenon observed in terms of fluctuations in growth in acreage is that a high growth in area in a particular period for a country is generally followed or preceded by a period of low and negative growth.

• There is no striking difference between performances of traditional growers and newcomers. In terms of growth in acreage, some newcomers have fared well, whereas some have failed badly. The same argument holds true in respect to the traditional ginger-producing countries as well.

Growth in Production

The world scenario in terms of growth in production highlights the following recent trends (Datta et al., 2003):

• China recorded the highest growth (11.39%) during 1991 to 1997, followed by Mauritius (11.15%) and Kenya (9.95%). The next in order are Nigeria (8.56%), Malaysia and Sri Lanka (both 6.78%), Madagascar (5.96%), and South Korea (4.36%).

• On the other hand, a number of countries have recorded a high negative growth. Uganda experienced the highest ( — 21.67%), followed by Fiji (-17.24%).

• In between these two extremes lie the rest, some showing moderate positive and the others showing moderate negative average growth.

As regards growth, the cyclical nature of the growth pattern was observed over the decades for both area and production. Barring Fiji, the nature of fluctuations in acreage and production was almost identical (in terms of both peak and trough) for other countries. Again, as in acreage, the growth pattern in production is also not group specific.


In terms of productivity performance, the world scenario gives the following picture:

• Barring Fiji, South Korea, the Philippines, and Nigeria, the traditional growers of ginger, cyclical fluctuations are not that sharp in other countries.

• The fluctuations are highly erratic in Fiji, recording a high negative growth during 1971 to 1980 and a very high positive growth in the next decade, only to come down to around 3% in 1991 to 1997.

In order to analyze the salient features of major ginger-producing and ginger-consuming countries individually, an effort is made to present countrywise details separately.


Ginger is grown in almost all the states of India. However, major ginger-producing states are Kerala, Orissa, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Karnataka, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh. Kerala accounts for the major share of both area (19%) and production (19%) of ginger in India. This figure has remained more or less unchanged over the last three decades. Orissa state stands second followed by Meghalaya. These three traditional ginger-growing regions of the country account for nearly 40% of the total production in the country.

In south India, although ginger cultivation was confined mostly to Kerala in the earlier years, during the last 8 to 10 years it is making fast inroads in to the paddy fields of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In Karnataka commercial cultivation of ginger is picking up in the districts of Coorg and Chikmagalur, with a reported area of approximately 4,500 hectares. Korikanthimath and Govardhan (2001a, b) claims that in the Kodagu district of the state alone nearly 4,000 hectares of paddy land has been converted for cultivation of ginger. Enterprising farmers from the adjacent Waynad district of Kerala lease paddy fields for cultivation of ginger. Fresh ginger harvested during the months of January to March had buyers from Nagpur, Mumbai, and Bangalore. A sizeable quantity of fresh ginger goes to the traditional ginger-growing districts of Ernakulam and Kottayam in Kerala for further processing into dry ginger. In Kerala, the Waynad and Idukki districts contribute the most toward the export of quality ginger from the state. Incidentally, these two districts have the maximum production density for ginger in the country.

Karnataka farmers sometimes have a practice of putting back a certain portion of the year's ginger crop in the ground and preserve it as "old ginger" for the next year. The reason for this is the low price in the market at the time of harvest. During the next season, this same old ginger will grow further. More rhizomes will develop, and farmers hope that at that time they will get a better price for both the old ginger and the new rhizomes. Himachal, Maran, and Rio de Janeiro are the major cultivars grown in the region (Spices Board, 1988).

Production Economics

Examination of time series data indicates that the coefficient of variation for the farm price of ginger was higher than that of production over a period, indicating the violent fluctuation in the price of ginger in the country. This fluctuating prospect had a greater impact on the production economics of the farming community. The problem can be better understood from the fact that farmers buy seed rhizomes for prices as high as Rs.50/kg at times, but their harvested crop could fetch them only less than one-fifth of this price. In order to avoid the price-related risk, the farmer cultivates ginger as a intercrop under various cropping systems, although a pure crop is not uncommon. In the major ginger-growing state of Kerala, nearly one-fourth of the cultivated area is in the uplands as pure crop whereas the major area (45%) is in the garden land category and the rest is under a mixed cropping system. A study on economics found that the banana + ginger system fetched more net income of Rs.2, 74,808 per hectare followed by the banana + ginger + vegetable cowpea intercropping system (Rs.1,92,578/—). The benefit—cost ratio was also highest in the banana + ginger system (2.28), whereas the lowest benefit—cost ratio (1.56) was recorded for the banana + turmeric system (Regeena and Kandaswamy, 1987). The estimated per kilogram production cost in Kerala for a pure crop of ginger during 2001 to 2002 was Rs.5.52, and it was comparatively more than that in Karnataka (Rs.3.84) owing to higher labor costs and other added costs toward chemical fertilizers (IISR, 2002). Ginger is a high-labor and input-demanding crop. A survey conducted by the Kerala Agricultural University also ascertained the fact that the Kerala farmers use large quantities of fertilizers. The share of fertilizer cost amounted to 26% in Kerala, whereas it was only 10% in Karnataka (IISR, 2002). As regards the labor requirement, the actual enumeration done to estimate the operation-wise labor requirement indicates that the ginger requires nearly 337 workdays/ha for the entire period of cultivation excluding marketing. The estimated standard cost-return budget for ginger in India is given in Table 12.3, which also reflects the fact that more than 65% of the total cost incurred is toward labor and seed material purchase. It can be further observed that the ginger farmer gets a marginal benefit, which can be wiped out easily due to unexpected losses in production and a slight fall in price. However, there exists a comparatively higher benefit—cost ratio when the marketed end product is dry gingers.

Table 12.3 Cost-return budget for ginger (Rs./ha)

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