Storage

Because ginger rhizomes are bulky and perishable, the storage of the seed rhizome for 3 to 4 months from harvesting to next planting season is faced with many problems, such as rotting, sprouting, rooting, and shriveling, which can result in huge losses. Therefore, adopting an efficient storage technique in ginger will go a long way in minimizing the storage loss of the valuable planting material.

Trials conducted in Kerala showed that storing ginger in 200-gauge thick polythene covers of size 35 X 25 cm with 125 punch holes (each hole with 4 mm diameter) was an effective method (Jayachandran et al., 1992). In Kerala, traditionally, ginger seed rhizome is stored with the leaves of Glycosmis pentaphylla in wooden pole racks or sleeves and kept under shade. The rhizomes are also stored in pits dug under shade, the floor of which is lined with sand or sawdust (KAU, 1993).

Rai and Hossain (1998), Orissa, India, reported that there are three traditional methods of seed rhizome storage: storage in soil pits, storage in a dry, shady place, and storage in the field involving delayed harvesting. The first method is the best for small-scale growers, but it is expensive and laborious for large-scale growers. Storage in a dry, shady place is economical for the larger growers, but there is a problem of rhizome drying. Storage in the field by delayed harvesting is not to be encouraged as it harbors rhizome rot—causing fungi and bacteria as well as insect pests such as scales and mealy bugs.

Research on agronomy, nutrition management, and various other aspects of production technology has not been carried out in other ginger-producing countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. The research information comes mainly from the studies carried out in India. Ginger is a minor crop in other countries, and most of the production aspects are applicable to other south Asian countries as well. The constraints faced by ginger growers in these countries are also the same. Solutions are not yet available for the most severe constraints such as the rhizome rot and bacterial wilt. In spite of the advancements in productivity, the gap between the average yield (15—20 t/ha) and potential yield (40—50 t/ha) is wide, and the potential yield of ginger in India and other producing countries such as China is still wider. A great deal of work has to go into the production physiology of ginger to narrow this gap, to increase the productivity, and to make ginger production more economical and remunerative.

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