In Indian culture, betel leaf is chewed as an antiseptic and a breath freshener after a meal and is also used in various religious rituals. Today in this blog, we will learn about the importance of betel leaves, farming, and the planting process.
Betel leaves are deeply ingrained in Indian culture. So before knowing the farming and planting process, we should know about the use of betel leaves.
The use of betel leaves
Betel leaf has been contributing to our social and cultural value in various ways. Nowadays, Indian Paan stalls serve sweet betel leaves; many people love to eat ‘sweet paan‘ after Dinner or Lunch.
In most cases, betel leaves are made with different spices and eaten after meals. Besides, some delicious dish is made with betel leaves.
In India, you must have seen ‘Paan Shop‘ in the vicinity of restaurants/hotels or lodges. Paan stalls are arranged at many function halls at the wedding ceremony.
The tradition of eating betel leaf with soaked lime is centuries old in India. Betel leaves are also used in religious rituals and prayers as it is considered auspicious, contribute directly / indirectly to our social and cultural life.
In South Indian culture, guests are given two betel nuts with some betel nut and coconut during any wedding ceremony. Similarly, in Bengal, there was a practice of inviting relatives or friends to attend the wedding by giving betel leaves.
Betel leaf farming process
The best quality Betel leaves (Paan Patta) are grown in humid climates and shady places with high rainfall areas.
Such weather is best for producing high-quality betel leaves. Different types of betel leaves (Paan Patta) are cultivated in various states of India.
Many species of betel leaves are available, and it is still in high demand in the market in India as well as abroad.
It is cultivated in some provinces of India, and in partly shady places, slightly acidic, sandy-loam, and lightly moist soil is suitable for cultivation.
High land and fertile soil are best for betel leaves and water that should not stay on the ground. If stay water, a drainage system must be done.
There should be some sand mixed in the ground. Mustard or sesame oil cake and cow dung are the most beneficial natural compost that helps grow top-quality betel leaves.
Watering: Moist soil is best for producing betel leaves. It is necessary to give water for two to three days a week for the betel leaf, depending on the season.
However, in such shady areas, betel vines are grown where there is no benefit in other types of farming.
Betel Leaf farming zones
There are about 90 different species of betel leaf’s in the world, but 45 species of best quality betel leaves are found in India, out of which 30 species of betel leaves are produced in West Bengal.
Besides, other regions of India also provide the best quality betel leaves. Like, Asam, Bihar, Odisha, UP, Madhya Pradesh, Gujrat, Maharastra, AP, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu and more.
The best quality betel leaves you will find in these states, like in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Bihar.
There are various famous betel leaves, such as Banarasi paan, Calcutta paan (Mitha Pata), and Magahi.
Best betel leaves are cultivated in Hinjilicut in Odisha, Nadia district in West Bengal, Tirur in Kerala. In Madurai and Dindukal district of Tamil Nadu produce the best quality betel leaves.
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Betel Leaf plantation time
The betel leaf planted start in October month or starts at the beginning of the rainy season. So it depends on the climate from state to state in India.
Before planting, the soil is well dug. Usually, the lines are laid as the length of the land and prepared for drainage system 30 cm deep and 30 cm high and 70 cm wide (approx).
The area is very well equipped with natural mustard or til oil cake and cow dung. For betel leaves planting, four-inch-long stems of the middle section of betel vines are cut with a node.
These cutting stems are then planted in parallel rows in the moist soil with a gap of 4 inches. As it grows (45 days later), betel vines are tied with jute rope with upright jute or bamboo sticks, and it creates a trellis-like shady environment.
It is usually not required during the rainy season. The proper drainage system should be maintained during the rainy season. Otherwise, it can be very harmful to the betel vine.
Betel Leaves picking time.
In India, betel leaf harvesting starts in February and continues until June, depending on the climate.
Like, in Tamil Nadu start from February to May, March to May in Bihar, UP and MP, and May to June in AP, Telangana and Karnataka. Because of the geographical perspective, the climate of this state is entirely different.
The mature betel leaves are picked up very carefully by hand along with the petiole. The leaves are thoroughly cleaned in water. Uniquely, betel leaves are packaged to reach the market or for export abroad.
Quality betel leaf producing state
The proper shadowing process is best for sound quality heart-shaped betel leaf. Watering daily is necessary during the summer season.
In this process, farmers can produce giant Betel leaf compared to their standard size with glossy green leaves.
Betel leaf is priced according to the colour, taste and size of the leaves. So, in short, the best betel leaf is produced in a hot, humid and rainy season in the shady arrangement.
These top states are Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and Bihar, which produce the best quality betel leaves.
Betel Leaf regional name
The betel leaf is mainly known as ‘Paan‘ in India. Betel leaf is dark glossy green and looks heart-shaped.
The scientific names of betel leaves are piper betel. In the regional language in India, betel leaves have various names.
Such as ‘Paan‘ in Bengali and Hindi, ‘Tamalapaku’ in Telugu, ‘Vidyachi Pan / Naginiche Paan‘ in Marathi, ‘Kavala‘ Karnataka, ‘Vetila‘ in Malayalam, ‘Tamul’ in Assam.
Betel Leaf export procedure
It does not have to be exported directly to farmers. The middle man buys it from the farmers, and they sold to a trader (an exporter).
Traders are exporting these betel leaves at high rates to domestic regions and the Middle-East, European countries.
People in the Middle-East Region are the biggest consumers of betel leaf; in addition to that, it is also exported to many other countries such as Pakistan, Myanmar.
Importance of betel leaves
Therefore, betel cultivation creates employment opportunities for agricultural operations, the primary source of rural areas in various regions of India and Bangladesh.
Throughout the year, they can support their families in various ways.
Further, as far as national employment is concerned, about 1.5 million people are directly or indirectly connected with the production of betel leaf in India.
As in processing and handling, the transport sector, marketers and traders are also included.
Therefore, for the massive demand in residential areas as well as abroad. So, In this way, it creates employment opportunities in the business of Betel Leaf’s, which is a matter of interest in a country.