Stevia may be a “wonder crop” with a robust sweet taste that has been wont to sweeten drinks and make tea since the sixteenth century. During war II, England began to examine stevia as a substitute for sugar, which was hard to seek out . But within the 1970s, the japanese began to use stevia to exchange the banned artificial sweetener, Saccharin. Currently, the stevia plant is grown in various nations round the world, like India, China, Vietnam, Brazil, South America, South Korea , Taiwan, Israel, Argentina, Colombia, etc.
In 1971 Japan began to use stevia in its food. In 1984 China started its cultivation, in 1991 stevia was banned within the us due to the first investigations that recommended the sweetener may cause cancer. However, in December 2008, the us Food and Drug Administration(USFDA) acknowledged this contention, announced stevia GRAS and permitted its use in standard U.S. food production. In 2011 European Food Safety Authority approved the utilization of Steviol Glycosides as a sweetener and eventually in 2015 FSSAI of India allowed the utilization of stevia in food items and beverages.
Stevia cultivation typically requires around 20 percent of the land and much less water to offer an identical measure of sweetness as other standard sugars. Stevia farming gives a productive harvest to thousands of independent farmers having small lands. It doesn’t replace food crops but is being cultivated as a crop on smaller plots additionally to food crops for a rise in revenue. When growing conditions are most favorable, farmers may harvest stevia several times per annum .
Stevia Cultivation in India
Stevia is named by numerous names in various parts of India. Its hottest name is “Meethi Tulsi” and “Meethi Patti”. In Hindi stevia is named ‘Madhu Patrika”. But in most the places, it’s generally referred to as “Meethi Tulsi” due to its uncanny similarity to the Tulsi plant in stature, leaf form, and other physical qualities.
Stevia is additionally referred to as Sweetleaf, Honey leaf, and Sugar leaf. Though its farming is completed throughout the planet for an extended time, it’s been around 20 years when the cultivation of stevia plant was introduced in India and currently it’s growing up during a good way . Currently, India has about 30 million diabetic patients, which is predicted to extend to 80 million until 2025. during this way, the Indian farmers have also began to take stevia cultivation to subsequent level trailing the large demand for the diabetic market here. Presently India’s total annual production of stevia is about 600 tons. The weather in many parts of India are excellent for stevia cultivation.
The Stevia Growing States in India
Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh are major Stevia growing states in India. Gradually stevia farming is learning in Uttar Pradesh also.
Sowing Season of Stevia
Time for sowing is February to March of the year
Stevia plants like to grow fully sun. it’s grown best in semi-humid locations with acidic, well-draining soil and environments especially in hot climates. It are often grown during a big variety of soils but it gives the simplest outcome when planted in sandy soil to loamy soil with a well-draining system and high organic content. Stevia doesn’t grow well in saline soils because it is harmful to its proper development. The pH starting from 6.0 to 7.5 is best for the right growth of the stevia plant.
Land Preparation for Plantation
Before planting stevia the farmer should need to plow his land a minimum of 2-3 times to bring the soil to a fine tilth. In his first plowing, he should mix Trichoderma with the soil and eventually plowing, FYM should be mixed well with the soil.
Spacing in Plantation
Transplantation of Stevia is completed on raised beds. The raised beds need to have 12 to fifteen cm tall and 50 to 60 cm in breadth . Row-to-Row separation need to be 40 to 45 cm and Plant-to-Plant separation need to be around 30 cm. This count gives Stevia plant thickness as 20,000 to 25,000 plants for each one acre of land.
Plant density in Stevia Cultivation should be 25,000 to 30,000 per acre when seedlings are transplanted into the most fields.
Hand weeding is that the commonest thanks to expel weeds from the sector . First, weeding is completed following one month of planting, and afterward ensuing weeding is completed at regular intervals.
Irrigation is that the most vital a part of stevia farming, water is irrigated to the plants through the system or by drip irrigation technique. The plant doesn’t require water in bounty therefore the light water system is given at proper interims. In summer, apply the water with an interval of 8 days. Don’t overwater the plants and avoid stagnation of water within the field because it will harm the harvest.
Fertilizers and Compost
Stevia needs proper balanced nutrition for appropriate development and glycoside creation. albeit stevia was initially depicted as a yield with minimal outer nutritional support requirement, however, it had been found later that it reacts well to fertilizer application. The nutritional management program for stevia relies upon soil and agro climate, cultivating framework, variety, and target yield.
During land preparation, apply FYM@200qtl/acre, cow dung/urine, and vermin compost and blend well in with soil. Apply fertilizer dose of N:P:K 11:45:45 kg/acre, Urea 24 kg, SSP 282 kg, and Potash 75kg/acre to land. Apply a full dose of SSP as a basal portion. Nitrogen and Potash are applied in 10 dosages monthly . The splashing of Boron and Manganese is completed to offer the foremost extreme dry leaf yield.
The application of organic compost helps to stay roots cool, deter weeds, and also prevents moisture loss. Avoid using high nitrogen fertilizers, as they produce enormous leaves with little flavor. Give liquid organic fertilizers that are rich in orthophosphoric acid or potash content.
Species of Stevia
The family of Stevia has about 154 species; six species are generally used that are Stevia eupatoria, Stevia ovata, Stevia plumeria, Stevia salicifollia, Stevia Serrata, and Stevia rebounding. From of these, Stevia’s rebounding is that the one with noteworthy sweetening properties. The property of the species that acknowledged the plant was the extraordinary sweet tests of the leaves and watery extracts.
Popular sorts of Stevia with Their Yield
Below are some popular sorts of stevia which are grown in Indian Climate condition
MDS-13 and MDS-14: Both varieties gives the simplest end in Indian climate . it’s suitable for cultivation within the regions with high temperatures and low rainfall.
SRB-123: This variety gives the simplest result when grown within the Deccan plateau where it are often harvested 3-4 times in one year. Its total Glucoside content varies between 9-12 percent
SRB-128: This variety is suitable for both southern also as north Indian climates. it’s a really high total glucoside content of 14-15 %.
SRB-512: This variety grows well in northern latitudes and it are often harvested 3 or 4 times in one year. Total glucoside content varies between 9-12 %.
Pests Control in Stevia
Most pests aren’t found in Stevia crops because steviol glycoside itself features a sizeable pest repellant quality, but a number of the fashionable high-yielding breeds of Stevia need crop safety to some extent. However, if pest appears they will be controlled by spraying neem oil with diluted water on the crop.
Commonly, non-favorable conditions, the excessive moisture level in soil and air, weed infestation, and unbalanced nutrients becomes the rationale for pests and diseases in stevia crop. At this moment, perfect nutrients and appropriate agronomic management can work as a shield.
Diseases of Stevia
Grey spot appear on leaves followed by chlorosis is caused by the fungus Septoria steviae. The disease spreads most fastly during high rainfall with cool night temperatures. It causes leaf lesions and high yield losses to stevia. Fungicides are wont to manage Septoria leaf spot in stevia plants leaves. It also can be controlled by giving a controlled water system to the plants. Leaf Spots also can be controlled by spraying borax 6 percent to the plants.
Symptoms include wilting stems that are bleached at the bottom . As symptoms progress, stems and leaves get necrotic. Once a stem is infected, brown spots appear on the stem, and symptoms progress results because the death of the stem and eventually , the entire plant collapses.
There are basically three methods for controlling Sclerotinia sclerotiorum; chemical, cultural, and organic control. The chemical and cultural control technique is usually wont to lessen infection. the most synthetic control that’s utilized to regulate Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is fumigation.
it is caused by soil-borne fungus Sclerotium rolfsii. Soil solarization is an efficient thanks to kill Southern blight.
Harvesting and Storage
The first harvest of the crop are often wiped out four months after planting and ensuing harvest once every three months. Generally, after 40 to 60 days of harvest, you’ll choose subsequent one.
Green stevia should be harvested early within the morning when it’s the very best sugar content. Cool temperatures and short days heighten the sweetness of stevia. From one plantation cycle, a farmer can produce three harvests. Each harvest cycle should be performed with an area of 3-4 months.
For drying the leaves, tie the stems in small bundles and hang them the wrong way up during a cool, dark and well-ventilated room until the leaves dry. When green leaves turn dry, remove the leaves from the stems and store in airtight containers. Grind them into a powder before use.
Dry leaves are stored in plastic-lined cardboard boxes then sealed, tied, and labeled for extra processing. After being powdered it’s packed and leveled appropriately purchasable .
The powder of stevia as holds the most important market share overall, trailed by fluid and leaf. On the idea of its use, stevia is especially utilized in the food, beverages, and pharmaceutical markets. Its demand within the beverage division is relatively high due to the rising demand for low-calorie drinks.
Stevia extract is currently imported generally at the value of Rs 5.5-6.5 lakh for 100 kg shipment. Local produce would be a serious assistance. A gauge puts the stevia items market to develop about ‘500 crores by 2022. so as to support farmers, the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) has declared a 20% subsidy at the expense of production stevia.
Training Centers of Stevia Cultivation
In order to endorse Stevia farming in India, there are some institutes and research centers that provide Training of Stevia Cultivation to the farmers. Below are some listed institutes;
Bhagya Shree Herbal Farms, Raipur, Chhattisgarh offers training, assistance, and consulting services for Stevia Cultivation.
National Medicinal Plant Board, Ministry of Ayush, Government of India also offers training and awareness programs for the event of medicinal plant cultivation.
Stevia and Medicinal Plant’s Cultivation Training by HCMS
Hahnemann Charitable Mission Society(HCMS) organizes stevia cultivation training programs for farmers at Pink City Jaipur. during this program, farmers are intensively trained on cultivation, harvesting, and marketing techniques of medicinal crop stevia. They also get practical training by experienced experts in stevia farming. The duration of this training is for 2 days and therefore the place of coaching in Jaipur.
Sunrise Institute and training Center
This institute is situated in Rajasthan and offers training for Stevia cultivation. along side several training programs like Medicinal Plantation, Dairy Development, Nursery Management educational program , Waste Land Management, the institute has also designed the Stevia Cultivation educational program to offer more information to the farmers about organic farming. Its a brief term course.
Medicinal Herbals Cultivation educational program by Amritanjali an SSP Group of Company
Located in Rajasthan, Amritanjali offers two Days Comprehensive Training program which provides technical and practical knowledge about the Plantation, Cultivation, Harvesting, and Processing of Stevia, Aloe Vera and Other Medicinal Herbs. During this period the institute aware farmers to the theoretical and technical details about subsidies and loans provided by Government Bodies for the cultivation of medical herbs such as Stevia, Aloe Vera, Lemon Grass, Satavar, Tulsi, Neem, etc.
Loans and Subsidies for Stevia Cultivation
- Organic Innovation, Assam is an organization that gives material for Stevia farming on 100 percent cashback agreement and provide training to the farmers on stevia cultivation free of cost.
- Hahnemann Charitable Mission Society(HCMS) offers financial and material support to the farmers for Stevia farming. HCMS is an NGO located in Pink City Jaipur.
- One of the govt. association NABARD is also offering loans and subsidies for Stevia Cultivation. NABARD loans and subsidies are based on project reports of the farmer.
- AYUSH and The National Medical Plant Board jointly offer a subsidy of 30 percent, a maximum of Rs 30 lakhs, on the total cost of Stevia Cultivation.
Medicinal Properties and Health Benefits of Stevia Plant
Stevia is known for its medicinal properties. Extracts from stevia leaves have been used for quite a long time as a medicinal herb in the conventional treatment of diabetes. When contrasted with sugar, stevia consumption before meals results in far lower after-feast glucose and insulin levels.
⦁ Stevia may help to control blood sugar and insulin levels
⦁ Stevia may help in weight loss
⦁ Stevia may help in healing the wounds faster
⦁ Stevia may fight acne, pimples, and dandruff
⦁ Stevia may help to protect teeth and gums from cavities
⦁ Stevia may reduce heartburn and indigestion
⦁ Stevia may help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles
Stevia Seeds Manufactures and Sellers in India
This company sells Stevia Seeds for cultivation that can yield good quality stevia plants. They offer seeds at Rs 5,000 per Kilogram.
Along with seeds Vanashree Agrotech also provides Stevia Plants at Rs 1.2 per Unit. Minimum Order Quantity is 40000 Units.
They offer their customers high-quality organic Stevia seeds as well as stevia plants for Plantation as well as provide complete assistance too.
Address: J-116, Megacentre, Magarpatta, Hadapsar, Pune, Maharashtra 411028
Maati Tatva Agro Industries
This company sells Stevia Seeds at Rs 500 per Kg.
Address: 7/1, Kumavat Pura, Juni Indore, Indore, Madhya Pradesh 452007
Phone: 099267 37767
Mediaroma Agro Producer Company Limited
This company is one of the leading Manufacturer of Stevia Plant from Kasganj, India. They sell a Stevia plant at Rs 0.70 per piece.
Minimum Order Quantity is 5000 Pieces
Address: 1328, Chitragupta Colony, Kasganj- 207123, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Green Era Foods & Nutraceutics
This Company offers stevia seeds at Rs 2,000 per Kilogram.
Address: Plot No- 2166, B-2/B, Gurudarshan Tenament, Behind Ashish Jyot Flats, Sanskar Mandal Rd, opp. Hotel Sankalp, Bhavnagar, Gujarat 364002
Phone: 080 6809 2054
Al Habib Herbs & Seeds
This company sells stevia seeds at Rs 2,500 per Kg
Address: Pragati Vihar, Near Defence Colony, Behat Road, Saharanpur- 247001, Uttar Pradesh, India
Honey leaf, Stevia is a non-caloric natural source option in contrast to artificially produced sugar substitutes. It is used as a sweetener, medication, beauty products, bread, juices, confections, yogurt, and a lot progressively eatable and pharmaceutical items.
The enlarging awareness about the medical advantages of stevia over sugar has prompted a worldwide increment in its demand due to which it is currently grown commercially across the world. Most of the low-calorie sweeteners available in the market are artificial, so the interest of natural sweeteners like stevia is expanding globally. Many other elements impacting the worldwide demand of stevia are the changing lifestyles, mindfulness to be healthy, expendable salaries, government initiatives on lessening the sugar consumption, and the need to battle medical issues like obesity and diabetes.
Stevia is used as a healthy option to added sugar in various food items and drinks. Even though stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than standard sugar, so less quantity can be utilized to sweeten refreshments and food.