Spices are the fundamental requisite in our diet especially in the Indian sub-continent areas. They are used for flavoring & adding aroma in the food making food tasty. Among the different spices, Black pepper is known as king of Spice having huge potential capacity of production in Nepal. At present the commercial cultivation of this crop is only in Jhapa district of Nepal however, it can be grown easily upto altitude of 1500 m above sea level, warm humid climate of tropical region. This sort of climate is found in Eastern Terai of Nepal which assure the commercial cultivation of this crop in these areas.
Climate & Soil:
For this crop, warm & humid climate is best suited. Temperature range for this crop is 10-40 degree Celsius & the optimum temperature for growth is 35 degree Celsius. Annual rainfall required is 1250-2000mm with relative humidity of 75-95%.
Uncultivated (Virgin soil) is best soil for black pepper cultivation. Well drained soil with high organic matter content is mandatory. Optimum pH level of soil is 4.5-6.
Propagation through seed is easy in black pepper however, it takes 7-8 years for yield. So, for commercial cultivation, layering is adopted. Runners are suitable for layering in this crop. Healthy & high yielding mother runners are selected during months of Magh – Falgun, trimming unnecessary leaves, & planting in polythene bags in nursery. Adequate shade & moisture is necessary for this cutting. After rooting in cuttings during month of Baisakh – Jestha, seedlings are ready for transplantation in main field.
It can be cultivated as monocrop or mixed crop. It requires staking as it is climbing crop. For staking/support, areacanut (Supari), coconut trees are suitable. Mixed cropping of tea, marich & supari is famous as ‘Tintale kheti’ in Jhapa district of Nepal.
After selection of land, it is tilled well & pit size of 2.5 m * 2.5 m is necessary. During preparing pit, forest soil, compost is mixed well & kept in the pit.
For commercial cultivation of Black pepper, 40-50 dokos FYM per ropani (800-1000 dokos per hector) is applied along with recommended fertilizer 8: 3: 1.4 kg NPK/ropani or (160: 60: 28 kg NPK/ha). First year only 1/3 portion of recommended fertilizer is applied whereas successively in 2nd year 2/3rd portion & 3rd year full dose of recommended fertilizer is applied. The dose of fertilizer is applied in 2 split doses: 1st at Chaitra-Baisakh & 2nd at Bhadra-Asoj. Ring method is applied during fertilizer application.
The number of Black pepper plant is 3500-5000 per ropani while it is 70000-100000 plants can be planted per hector. Per pit, 3 plants should be planted. During rainy season, after the successful transplantation, direct the plant in north direction of supporting trees.
Training & pruning:
Pruning is necessary according to requirement. It is carried out during Falgun – Chaitra. Remove unnecessary branches to give proper shape to plant. Similarly, unwanted growing tips & lower branches should be removed as per requirement of plant. Control the height of plant when it reaches 6 m.
Weeding & Irrigation:
Each year, around 1-meter area of plant should be made weed free by hoeing & weeding. First weeding at starting of monsoon whereas 2nd weeding is done after the monsoon. Mulching is necessary after weeding before monsoon.
Shade is necessary to prevent tip burn of growing plants from sun. Pruning of supporting trees/shade trees must be done before onset of rain. Irrigation is necessary upto 3 years of plantation. Sprinkle irrigation is best for this crop.
Harvesting & yield:
Layering plants starts fruiting from 3rd year of plantation whereas seed propagated plant takes 7-8 years for fruiting. Flowering takes plane in Baisakh-Jestha in Black pepper & it approximately takes 180-200 days for ripening. Harvesting is done when all fruits turn yellow & 1-2 fruit in a bunch turn into red. Sun drying is done after separating all fruits from bunch until they turn into black. When the fruit turn black & wrinkle in shape, it is fit for storage. Yield of died black pepper is 75-100 kg/ropani i.e. 1500-2000 kg/ha.
Black pepper isnot very much afftected by disease & insect attack, however, some disease & insects attack this. The major diseases & insects pests attacking black pepper are discussed below with the management or control methods.
Anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporoides)
- Since anthracnose is primarily a disease that occurs during the rainy season, systemic fungicides are required to prevent chemicals leaching from the plant.
- 1% Bordeaux mixture can be applied during monsoon season; Metalaxyl is also effective.
Charcoal rot (Macrophomina phaseolina)
Organic soil amendments like addition of manure or neem cake can be used to reduce levels of inoculum in the soil.
Root rot ( Phytophthora capsici)
- Avoid uneccessary ploughing of soil which can be conducive to spreading the pathogen;
- Amending the soil with neem cake suppresses the Phytophthora and provides nutrients to the vines;
- systemic fungicide Metalaxyl can give some measure of control;
- Resistant verieties can be useful.
- Pepper lace bugs
- Striped mealy bug
Insecticide application is needed to control the insects in both cases.
Ketipati bhag 2 Dhurba Narayan 2071