Amaranth cultivation in India

The Grain of God? The Royal Grain? The Amaranth has many names But its name derived from the greek word Amarantos meaning, “that which does not wither”. Aptly named, the amaranthus has many benefits which is often overlooked. Amaranthus has a wide range of varieties and are consumed as leafy vegetables and grains. a variety of Amaranth grain are popularly known as Rajgira/Rajagra or Ramdana in india. 

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Amaranth Leaves are commonly used as leafy green vegetables in southern india. The leaves are rich in calcium and iron. They are high in Calories and do contain other trace minerals. Its one of the most widely available superfoods provided by nature. The fact that its is not widely consumed is due to the fact that its nutritional values are overlooked and also because many of us have no idea how to cook the amaranth leaves. 

Amaranth leaves can be consumed raw or cooked. They are also widely popular as microgreens. In india, amaranth is consumed as leafy vegetables. The green and red amaranth are popular in south india.

Cultivating Amaranth

For those who are new to farming amaranth or farming in general, the Amaranth plant is one of the easiest to start with. They are easy to grow and takes less than a month to harvest. It can be started in any season but does not tolerate frost. Summers are common for amaranth cultivation but light winter is the best season to grow amaranth. Amarant does need a lot of water. The soil should be moist for healthy plants. Farmers usually prefer to water the plants using a sprinkler twice a day. 

The process of growing amaranthus is laborious but not hard. Most of the work during the course of the month is spent on watering the plants. Proper mechanisation could reduce the work drastically. 

Downsides of growing Amaranthus

  1. Limited market 
  2. Poor shelf life

Amaranthus, though easy to grow, has a few drawbacks. To begin with, the shelf life is very low. The best you can do is to get to the nearest market and in small to medium quantities. Do not expect to sell large quantities in a day. Most retailers and markets will be able to buy a medium quantity from you. Focus on the nearest outlets. They may take up to 20 bunches. Each bunch weighs approximately 500 grams and can be sold for Rs.8-10 Per bunch. The retail price for customers are usually Rs.20. 

Large scale production of Amaranth is not a viable option. Farmers should refrain from cultivating more than an acre at a time of amaranth. Though it may be very easy to cultivate them, it’s hard to market the produce.  The biggest drawback is the shelf life. The plants will wither in 48 hours and will be discarded. From the time of picking to the point of sale, the farmer has as little time as possible. The retailers usually sprinkle water on top of these plants to keep them fresh for as long as possible

Benefits of amaranth Cultivation

  1. Faster return on investment
  2. Quick start to harvest
  3. Can be grown throughout the year.

The main benefits of amaranth is the time it takes to cultivate the crop. Plants can be harvested in as little as 25 days with some varieties being harvested in 40 days. With the short timespan, farmers can benefit from the crop in as little time as possible. 

Amaranth can be grown throughout the year. So there are no limitations to weather or climatic conditions. While some states may find it hard to grow amaranth due to extreme heat or cold during certain periods of the year, most parts of south india are suitable for amaranth cultivation throughout the year. 

Yield, Profit and Costs of Cultivating amaranth

An acre of amaranth Can yield 4-6 tonnes of leaves. This depends on the quality of the seed, the maintenance of the plant and the nutrition in the soil. With the average cost of Rs. 20 Per kilo, a farmer can expect 80,000 Rs per acre from amaranth cultivation. The mandi price for a Kilo is usually upwards of Rs 20, and currently at the time of writing this article stands at 40Rs Per quintal for Amaranthus in Alapuzha and Rs.23 per kilo in Ernakulam market. 

Below is a table of cost vs income from Amaranth farm in kerala.

Soil PreparationRs. 6000
WeedingRs.15000 (Weeding Twice)
FertilizersRs.4000 (Compost & Cow Manure)
IrrigationRs.5000
HarvestingRs. 15000
TransportationRs.4000
Miscellaneous ExpensesRs.5000 (Seeds, Pesticides if Required)
TotalRs.54000
Yield in Kilo4000
Price in MarketRs.20
Gross RevenueRs.80000
Net Revenue (minus Expense)Rs. 26000

NB : Rs. 26000 is the minimum amount you will be able to make. Note that the expenses on the sheet are inflated for obvious reasons. It’s also important to understand that the market for your produce should be determined before you sow. Find out the nearest mandi, how long it will take you to reach the mandi and what your transportation costs would be. Adjust the numbers accordingly to get the right figure.

Is amaranth Cultivation profitable?

In Kerala, where amaranth is consumed without inhibitions and where people know the value of the vegetable nutritionally, selling the product is much easier. Parts of tamil nadu, Andhra and karnataka are also good in selective areas. If the produce can be sold locally, there is no doubt that the Amaranth cultivation is a quick way to make an income. There are very little crops which can take you from zero to 26000 Rs rich in less than a month. Thats possible with Amaranth farming.

For seeds – https://agritech.tnau.ac.in/horticulture/horti_TNAU_sale%20price.html