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Medicinal & Aromatic Plants



The commercial importance of medicinal and aromatic plants has been widely recognized during the recent past. In
India, various types of climate and soils are available, hence medicinal and aromatic herbs can be grown naturally all
over the country. Though, the value of raw material may be less, but processed products, extract oil can be sold with
higher rates which may be done on small scale industry, on farms.

Aromatic oils and their compounds have very good demand in national and international markets. Use of aromatic
plants and their products is as old as our history. The herbal products like high grade scents, flavored food products,
cosmetics, toiletries, various types of scented soaps, talcum powders, face powders, creams, Agarbatties, repellents
etc. contain extracts of aromatic plants. Some of the plants products/parts are used as spices for flavoring the meal or
fast food products as also medicinal products.

Importance of essential oil industry in India :

• The aromatic plant and aroma chemicals contained in them, play a vital role in our day to day living. Many
people use perfume and perfumed products.
• India has varied climate conditions and suitable soil exists in one or other part of the country. Hence, it is
possible to grow almost any type of essential oil bearing plant.
• India’s share of essential oil in the world market can be improved greatly if some of the bottlenecks that
prevail now are removed. They are

• Adoption of age old technology for essential oil production.

• Wide quality and price fluctuations.
• Availability of low priced synthetic substitutes.

2.Importance of Patchouli

One of such aromatic plants coming into prominence is Patchouli. Patchouli is a herb growing in a number of
countries in South East Asia. In India, it is known as Panadi or Panch which bears flowers, but not suitable for oil.
Indonesian variety is used for oil extraction. Consumption of patchouli oil in the world is about 1,000 MT per annum.
Indian consumption of this oil is about 70 to 80 MT per annum. At present it is mostly produced in Indonesia. India
has considerable scope to enter the world market. Even if 10,000 acre of land is cultivated, the oil produced can be
easily marketed globally.

Keeping in view the scope available for patchouli, Kelkar Scientific Research Center (KSRC), Mumbai, a trust
promoted by M/s S.H. Kelkar & Co. Ltd. has encouraged its cultivation. They have standardized the agrotechnique
and provide the planting material of selection yielding high quality oil. M/s Keva Biotech provides the buy back
guarantee for three years on renewable basis for the produce. In order to increase patchouli cultivation in
collaboration with user industry with financial support from banks, the present model is prepared by NABARD.

3.Project Details

Based on the feedback received from scientists of Kelkar Scientific Research Center, Mumbai the model has been
prepared. The model envisages production of patchouli in 1 acre area under the following two conditions :

i) Cultivation under flood irrigation and

ii) Cultivation under drip irrigation system. Both are cultivated under open conditions. Besides, it can also be
cultivated as inter crop with other perennial crops such as coconut etc.

The primary objective of the model is to serve as a guide on techno-financial aspects of preparation/ appraisal of
bankable projects on patchouli cultivation by the financing banks.


The beneficiaries could be individual entrepreneurs and farmers. Technical tie-up with research institutes such as
KSRC and marketing tie-up with Keva Biotech, Mumbai is a prerequisite for the project. As the cultivation of patchouli
is innovative in nature, promoters having relevant technical experience will have additional advantage.

6.Soil & Climate

Most soils with good drainage are suitable for cultivating patchouli. Water logged soils are found to be detrimental for
the crop and must be avoided because they are susceptible to nematode attack. Generally humid climate with plenty
of sunlight is suitable for this crop. The plant grows well as an inter crop in partial shade, but complete shade should
be avoided. For good growth of the plant, temperature between 250C to 35oC is found to be ideal. Once planted, the
plants give good yield of leaves for at least 3 years.

7.Selection of Location

As patchouli thrives well under humid conditions, coastal areas (Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka & Kerala) are suitable
for this crop which have congenial climatic conditions. It is possible to cultivate patchouli commercially in various
locations of the country having congenial climate. Factors such as number of farmers ready to take up the crop for
better supervision, availability of perennial irrigation source and marketing arrangements should be taken into
account for selection of the site.

9.Unit Size

There is no minimum economic size for patchouli cultivation. The project envisages cultivation of patchouli in one
acre area which can be easily managed by the farmer and provides sufficient income. It is however desirable to adopt
the cluster approach wherein more than 10 farmers join the cultivation in their small holdings.

10.Agro Technique and Source of Technology

The agrotechnique for the cultivation of patchouli has been standardized by KSRC. It provides training and technical
guidance on cultivation aspects of the crop and also provides technical consultancy to private entrepreneurs for
setting up of production of commercial units in the State.

10.1 Cultivation Methods

Patchouli can be cultivated as pure crop and intercrop under following two methods :

Ø Standard practice using conventional method of irrigation.

Ø Drip irrigation method using fertigation for providing nutrients.

The yield under drip irrigation is nearly 2 times that of conventional method.

10.2 Variety

There is no established variety of Patchouli under cultivation. In the project, the variety selected from natural flora by
Kelkar Scientific Research Center, Mumbai is recommended. This selection is reported to be suitable for production
of best quality essential oil.

10.3 Spacing and Plant Population

The recommended spacing is 30 cm x 30 cm under open cultivation for both drip and conventional irrigation. Number
of plants accommodated would be around 30,000 per acre.

For intercropping in partial shade, 45 cm x 45 cm spacing is recommended accommodating 19,750 plants per acre.

10.4 Planting Material and Cost

Authentic planting material of a variety suitable for essential oil is prerequisite for successful cultivation. Two types of
planting material are supplied by KSRC. They are - (a) Rooted cuttings (b) Rooted and hardened tissue culture
plants. It is recommended to use tissue culture plants.

Cost of rooted cuttings supplied by KSRC is Rs. 2/ plant while, rooted and hardened tissue culture plants cost Rs. 5
per plant. For cultivation of one acre, 400 plants are required as mother stock. Around 5% mortality during
establishment in the field is assumed.

10.5 Land Preparation

Followed by land clearing, ploughing two times is recommended. Each ploughing by tractor takes about 3 hours.
Land leveling costs are not considered since they vary widely from site to site. Farmyard manure (12 tons/acre) is to
be mixed well with the soil. Antinematode material like neem cake should be added at the root zone and mixed well
with the soil to avoid nematode attack.

10.6 Planting Time

Planting can be done at any time of the year except in hot months like April, May or October. Once planted, the plants
give good yield of leaves for 3 years.

10.7 Irrigation schedule

As indicated earlier, patchouli can be cultivated in two ways depending on the method of irrigation followed. Under
conventional method, irrigation is to be provided at least twice a week. Water logging must be avoided. Number of
irrigation per year will be around 60 (no watering during monsoon) with each irrigation lasting for 3 hours with 5 HP

Under drip system of irrigation, irrigation is provided by a drip with nozzles at a distance of 45 cm from each other,
which discharge at a rate of 2 litres of water/hour. Irrigation for 30 minutes per day is adequate. In hot and dry
season it should be upto a maximum of 60 minutes in two installments.

10.8 Manure and Fertilizer schedule

Based on the soil fertility status, fertilizer dose has to be decided. At the time of land preparation, around 12 MT of
FYM/acre is to be applied. Neem cake for control of nematodes is applied at the time of planting @ 0.4 MT/ acre.
Thereafter, the fertiliser schedule decided based on soil fertility status is to be followed.

10.9 Plant Protection Measures

Other than nematodes, problems of aphids and caterpillars have been observed in patchouli which can be controlled
by use of malathion or endosulphon sprays. For control of nematodes and Fusarium wilt, good drainage coupled with
soil application of neem cake at the time of planting @ 0.4 MT per acre is recommended.
10.10 Plantation Management

Not much maintenance is required for Patchouli. Regular weeding, nutrient application and harvesting are the major
activities involved in its cultivation.

10.11 Harvesting and Yield

Crop maturity

6 months - First
harvest is possible
after 6 months when
the plants are about
1m high. The first
harvest can be taken
after 3 months if
tissue culture plant
are used.

Economic life

3 years

Harvesting method

The plant is
harvested at 6-8
nodes from the apex.
It should be
harvested with a
sharp cutting tool.
The new shoots
come from the nodes
and if the cutting is
done too low the next
harvest will be
affected. Thereafter
the cutting can be
taken every 3
months. In rainy
season, fungicides
should be sprayed
after harvesting.
Harvested material is
dried in shade.

Harvesting is
preferably done
during drier months.


Under conventional
irrigation : 10 MT (3
cuttings) per acre
p.a. Drip system of
irrigation : 20 MT (3
cuttings) per acre
Farm Model for Patchouli

(Unit : 1 Acre)

Variety : No established variety.Superior selections will be used.

Spacing & No. of plants / acre : Conventional Method of Irrigation : 30cm x 120cm, 11,000 plants / acre

Drip System : 30cm x 120cm, 11,000 plants/ acre

Planting material : Hardened tissue culture plants.

Yield and Income Parameters

Sr. No.








Yield -

MT/ acre