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Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton) is considered to be the `Queen of Spices’. India is the largest producer and exporter of this spice, accounting for more than 60% of the total world production and total world trade. In India, large cardamom is mainly used in the manufacture of curry powder (garam masla), in ayurvedic medicines and confectionery products including some sweetmeats. Its annual consumption in the country is about 3,000 tonnes. Cardamom is a plantation crop as per the Cardamom Act 1965 and as such comes under the perview of the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.

The Ministry established Cardamom Board by an act of Parliament on 14 April 1966 to oversee research and development of small and large cardamoms. A separate Spices Export Promotion Council oversaw exports o spices including black pepper, ginger, turmeric, etc. The Government of India established Spices Board under the Ministry of Commerce by merging the Cardamom Board with the Spices Export Promotion Council by Spices Board Act 1986. The Indian Cardamom Research Institute, Myladumpara, under the Spices Board with its regional stations at Saklespur, Thadiyankudisi and Gangtok is conducting research on cardamom and export-oriented spices.


More than 285 germplasm of cardamom (small) is maintained at the IISR, Calicut. 87, Mudigere 245 and Yercaud 35 accessions of small cardamom are also maintained at Pampadumpara. Gangtok (ICAR Research Complex) maintains 34 accessions of large cardamom.

Varietal Improvement

Through concerted research, 7 high-yielding varieties or hybrids in cardamom (small) namely Mudigere 1, PV 1, CCS 1, ICRI 1, ICRI 2, ICRI 3, and Mudigere 2 have been identified.

Planting And Cultivaton

One or two-year-old seedlings are planted in each pit, either in June-July or in September-October. The rhizome is planted 5-8 cm deep and the soil is pressed well and the seedling is securely tied to a stout wooden stake to prevent it from being laid low by the strong monsoon rains and winds. According to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, ICAR, Government of India, High-production technology (HPT) has been standardized for cardamom. The trench method for cardamom propagation is considered optimum as a multiplication ratio of 1:30-40 from single sucker is obtained per year The plantation receives at least four weeding in the first year, three in the second year and two annually thereafter. The clearing, digging and manuring of soil around each clump, filling up gaps, and the lopping of shade-trees constitute the main cultivation practices. Each clump requires a heavy doge of cattle manure or leaf compost. A well-developed mould and well-marked layer of humus accumulation is essential for the development of the plant.


Fertilizer And Nutrient Management

On large estates, castor-cake, bone meal, fish-manure, ammonium sulphate and muriate of potash are commonly used to provide 30-40 kg of N, 30 kg of P2O5 and 50-60 kg of K2O per ha. The application of dolomite also helps to correct the soil pH. Though specific experimental evidence on the fertilizer requirements of cardamom is not available and, whatever information that is available shows that the cardamom crops needs a judicious application of potassium. In general, fertilizers to supply 30 kg of N, 30 kg of P2O5 and 60 kg of K2O per ha appear to be necessary for the healthy and vigorous growth of the crop. According to DARE, in 1999-2000, it was observed that application of Phorate @ 10g/clump followed by two sprays of Phosalone (0.05%) during May and August was effective in controlling thrips and borer in cardamom especially in Mudigere (Karnataka). Investigations on major nutrients for cardamom in trench system with high density planting showed that application of 120, 120 and 240 kg N, P and K/ha/year resulted in high productivity.

Nutrient recommendations for Cardamom

  Organic (tonnes/ha) Inorganic (kg/ha) Total (kg/ha) Average yield (kg/ha)
Spice FYM Leaf mulch N P K N P K  
Cardamom 10 2 75 75 150 175 125 240 450
Value Added Products

India is the global leader in value-added cardamom product development and export. Germplasm accessions of cardamom were categorized based on levels of essential oil, oleoresins and pungenet principles. APG 7, APG 28 and APG 57 are cardamom accessions with high essential oil and alpha terpinyl acetate. India is producing the following value added product from cardamom:
Spice Produce
Cardamom (small) Green cardamom, cardamom oil, cardamom oleoresin
Cardamom (large) Oil, oleoresin

Disease Management

Major diseases of cardamom are katte, kokke kandu, rhizome rot and azhukal diseases. The major insect pests of spices include pollu beetle, top shoot-borer, scale insects and leaf fall thrips on black pepper, cardamom thrips, Some of the common diseases of cardamom and their recommended remedies are given below:
Spice Disease Casual organism Control
Cardamom Azhukal Phytophthora sp Spray BM (1%) and drench with copper oxychloride (0.2%)
  Katte Virus Phytosanitation, control of vector


Pest Management

Shoot- and capsule-borer and root grubs on cardamom. Technologies for management of these pests have been developed. Advances were made to locate source(s) or resistance/tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Integrated disease management (IDM) was formulated against major diseases. Likewise advances have been made in biocontrol and pests of major spices. Some of the common pests of cardamom and their remedial measures are given below:

Spices Pest Control
Cardamom Thrips Spray Quinalphos 0.025% or Fenthion 0.05% or Phosalone 0.07%
  Shoot – and capsule-borer Spray Monocrotophos 0.07% or Fenthion 0.07%
  Root grubs Apply Phorate 2-4 g ai/clump
Source(s) of resistance or tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses in cardamom
Spice Disease pest stress Source of resistance or tolerance
Cardamom Kokke kandu Clone 893
  Katte NKE 3, NKE 73
  Rhizome rot RR 1
  Drought P3, P6
Biocontrol agents for diseases and pests
Disease/pest Biocontrol agents identified
Rhizome rot of cardamom Trichoderma harzianum using coffee husk as carrier and paecilomyces lilacinus
Shoot- and capsule-borer of cardamom Eriborus trocharteratus, Xanthopinpla australis
Quality-Clean Spices

Quality has become the key word and the focal point for production, processing, transport and retailing. ‘Consumer Friendly’, ‘Zero Defect Concept’, ‘Due Deligence’, ‘Security’, ‘Quality from Group up’, ‘Total Quality Management,’ ‘ISO Certification’, ‘BIS Specification’ etc. have become watch-dogs for stricter compliance of specifications for the hygienic standards of spices in majority of the importing countries. Occurrence and detection of aflatoxins in nutmeg, high bacteria content in black pepper, notified viruses in ginger and turmeric rhizomes have forced importing countries to enforce Quality Policies’. Unified provisions are being worked out.

  • Regulation on maximum pesticide residue
  • Regulation on aflatoxins
  • Specifications on microbiology, especially Salmonella
  • General hygienic standards for food stuffs
The concept of quality policy in enterprises comprises following steps:
  • Risk analysis during production and marketing (HACCP concept)
  • Implementation of quality system according to ISO 9000 requirements