|Production Technology of Betel nut|
How to Grow Betel nut
Botanical Name: Areca eatechu.
India and South Eastern countries.
The areca nut palm produces the common chewing nut which is popularly known as betel nut or supari. This nut is consumed in very large extent hence has great demand. The areca nut is not a true nut, but rather a fruit categorized as a drupe. It is commercially available in dried, cured and fresh forms.
No definite variety in Bangladesh. In, Bangladesh local variety are cultivated. It is named by the name of growing place such as Rangpuri, Barisali, Sylheti etc. Recently, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute released two hybrid variety. They are known as BARI supari 1, BARI supari 2.
Some Indian varieties are Mangala, Sumangala, Subamangala, Mohitnagar, Srimangala, Samruthi etc.
• Arecanut is a tropical crop. It is capable of growing under variety of climatic conditions.
• It grows well from sea level upto an altitude of 1000 m in areas of abundant and well distributed rainfall.
• It is grown in high rainfall area about 200 to 400 cm.
• The cultivation is mostly confined to 20° North and South of the Equator.
• It is unable to withstand extremes of temperature and wide diurnal variations. The optimum range of temperature is 15-38°C for its good growth.
• High humidity and areas free from cyclonic wind and sun scorching are congenial.
The arecanut palm is grown in a variety of soils. The soil also should be deep and well drained. Water logged, soils should be avoided. The depth of soil should be at least 1m with 4.57.6 pH. An adequate irrigation facilities are required for its satisfactory production.
Land should be ploughed and harrowed 2 times to bring the soil to fine tilth stage and make the field weed free from previous crops.
It is propagated by seeds. The selection of proper planting material is of almost importance.
Selection of Mother Palms
Select mother palms showing earliness in bearing and high percentage of fruit set. The age of the palm should 20-40 years and have a regular bearing habit. Less than 10 leaves and 4 bunches per year and poor yielding mother trees should be rejected.
Selection of Seed Nuts
Select fully tree ripe nuts for use as seeds. Discard nuts which are undersized, malformed and low in weight.
Raising of Seedlings
Sow selected seed nuts soon after harvest in nursery bed with stalk end up and with a spacing of 56 cm. Cover the seed nuts with sand and irrigate daily. Germination starts about 40 days after sowing and the sprouts are ready for transplanting when they are about three months old having 2-3 leaves.
Prepare secondary nursery beds of 150 cm. width and a convenient length. Transplant sprouts at a spacing of 30 X 30 cm with the onset of the monsoon. Partial shade to the seedlings can also be provided by banana, Coecinia indica or by means of artificial pandal. Provide irrigation during hot and dry periods and drainage during monsoon. Periodical weeding and mulching are necessary.
Time of Planting
June – December is found to be the good for it’s planting.
Selection of Seedlings
Select good seedlings for transplanting in the main field when they are 12-18 months old. Selection of seedlings can be based on Selection Index which is calculated by multiplying leaf number by 40 and subtracting the seedling height.
Example: Seedling height 90 cm. Leaf numbers 5, Selection index (5×40) 90 = 110
Select seedlings with higher Selection Index Values i.e. if index values range between 50 and 150, select seedlings with higher values. Remove seedlings with ball of earth attached to them for transplanting.
Plant tall, quick growing shade trees on the Southern and Western sides of the seedlings to provide protection from sun scorching. This helps for better stand of crop in the initial stage. Dig pits of 90 X 90 X 90 cm at 2.7 X 2.7 m and fill up with rich top soil to a level of 15 cm from the bottom. Plant seedlings in the center of pit, cover with soil upto collar and press around. Banana is raised between rows to provide shade to the seedlings in the initial stages upto 4-5 years.
A steady and high yield will depend much on the adequate availability of plant nutrients in the soil. p The application of fertilizer for adult palm are
♦ N : 100 g/ palm/ year.
♦ P2O5 : 40 g/ palm/ year.
♦ K2O : 146 gm/ palm/year.
♦ Compost: 12 Kg/ palm/ year.
1. Apply 1/3 dose of fertilizer and full dose of green manure and compost during first year.
2. 2/3 dose of fertilizer and full dose of green manure and compost during second year.
3. Full dose from third year onwards during September – October.
♦ Under irrigated conditions, apply fertilizers in 2 split doses
• The first during September – October.
• The second during February.
♦ Under rainfed conditions apply the
• Second dose during March – April after receipt of summer rains.
♦ Apply manure and fertilizers in circular basins of 15-20 cm depth and with a radius of 0.75-1m from the palm. Apply second dose of fertilizer around the base of palm after weeding and mix into soil by light forking.
♦ In acidic soils, broadcast lime @ 0.5 kg per palm once in 2-3 years and incorporate into soil during April – May.
Irrigation and Drainage
Areca nut cannot withstand drought for a long time. Being a perennial crop, once affected by water stress, it may require two-three years to regain the normal vigour and yield. The death of palms due to moisture stress is possible in long drought season.
• Irrigation should be given @ intervals of 4 and 10 days for better growth and yield.
• The quantity of water required is about 175 to 200 lit. per palm/irrigation.
However, in case of areas having water problem can adopt drip irrigation or sprinkler irrigation to overcome the water problem. Drainage channels should be made based on soil type. In heavy soils drainage channels should be dug in each row to drain out the excess water. The channels should be at least 15 cm to 30 cm deeper than the depth at which the palm nut seedlings are planted.
Regular manual weeding tasks should be carried out to make the nut orchard weed free. Weeding is done twice or thrice a year by spade digging. Light forking or digging after cessation of monsoon should be carried out. Remove any dead or diseased palm leaves. Mulching can be done to prevent weed growth and soil erosion, terracing can also be done to prevent soil erosion in sloppy areas. This also helps in retaining the water from evaporation.
Owing to the long prebearing age of the palm, practically no income obtained during the first 3-4 years. Black pepper, coffee, vanilla, cocoa, citrus, cinnamon and clove can be cultivated as intercrop in arecanut cultivation.
Pests and Diseases
▲ Pests: Mites, Spindle bug, Inflorescence caterpillars and Nematode are the common pests found in arecanut cultivation.
▲ Diseases: Bud rot disease, Stem breaking, Foot rot, Yellow leaf disease, Leaf spot and Nut crack are the common diseases found in areca nut cultivation.
1. Apply Dust Methyl parathion 20 EC 2 ml/lit or WP @ 2.5 g in one litre of water.
2. Mites can be controlled by spraying Dicofol 18.5 EC @ 2.5 ml/lit.
3. For bud rot, Infected tissues of the bud should be scooped off and treated with 10 % Bordeaux paste.
4. Leaf spot can be reduced by foliar spray with Bordeaux mixture 1% or 0.2% Dithane M 45.
5. Spray Borax 2 g/lit with proper water management for nut crack.
The nut bearing starts after 5 years of planting. The plant is monocius, producing both male and female flowers on the same tree. The spadix of a grown up palm produces on an average 294 female flowers.
The colour of the fruit during its growth changes from green to different shades of yellow and red during ripening. Nut matures after 89 months after fertilization. 45 spadix are produced by the palm per year. The number of harvesting will vary from 3 to 6 in 1 year depending upon the season and place of cultivation.
In arecanut cultivation, an average yield of 300 to 400 nuts/palm/year or 1250 kg/ha can be obtained.
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