Taro Root Farming – Introduction
The taro is one of the oldest known vegetables which have been cultivated by man. It is mainly cultivated for its leaves, roots, and petioles. The taro plant grows in the wild. The plant consists of fleshy stems and large single leaves over each stem.
The taro is a very popular vegetable which is eaten in many cultures. In many countries, it is eaten in many different ways. It has many important nutrients which are needed for the human body. Cultivation of taro is also easy. In fact, the plant grows naturally in the wild also. While doing commercial cultivation, certain things have to be kept in mind also. The quality of the taro roots must be good. The nutrition must be provided properly and they must be grown in suitable conditions. The demand for taro roots in the markets is quite high. Therefore, proper cultivation will bring huge profits. The taro leaves and roots make very delicious vegetables. It is also eaten and prepared with many nonvegetarian dishes. The taro leaves are poisonous by nature only if eaten raw. When cooked, it becomes edible.
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Scientific Name of Taro: Colocasia esculenta
Top Countries In The Production Of Taro Root
|Rank||Country||Taro Production (million metric tons), 2014|
|5||Papua New Guinea||0.3|
Name Of Taro In Other Languages
- English- taro
- Amharic- godere
- Arabic- qolqas
- Bengali- kachu
- Chinese- 红芋
- Finnish- taaro
- French- colocase comestible
- German- taro
- Hawaiian- kalo
- Hindi- kaccalu
- Jappanese- imo
- Kannada- kesavedantu
- Korean- thoran
- Malayalam- chempu
- Marathi- chempu
- Oriya- jongal saaru
- Sanskrit- aaluki
Different Varieties Of Taro Cultivated Across The World
This variety of taro plant is usually called the water taro. It is named so because it can grow in water. However, it can also grow in muddy waters or even in dry areas. This variety of taro responds very well to fertilizer application and water management. The root of the taro weighs about 500gms to a kg. The taste of the root is sweet. The variety has a white colored stem and green colored The maturity time for the taro is about 6-8 months.
This variety of taro grows in the wild usually. It can also be cultivated in drylands. This variety is generally used for animal feed. It is not used for the consumption of human beings. This is because of the wild nature of the taro crop.
This taro variety has white colored flesh with purple fibers. The skin of the corm is cream colored. This variety grows popularly in the wild. It mainly grows in wetlands. The plants are tall and spreading in nature. This variety is originally from China. It is grown everywhere else in the world. The young leaves of the variety are also considered a delicacy.
The plant of this variety is erect in nature. The flesh of the corm is white in color with yellow colored This variety is basically cultivated in uplands. It is mainly a table taro variety. The stalks and sprouts of the taro are basically eaten as greens. The variety takes about 8-9 months to reach maturity.
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This variety of taro grows well in little water. In deep waters, it cannot grow properly. The variety is cultivated for its tubers. The stem is also harvested but used as animal feed. The stem is violet in color which is a rare characteristic of this taro variety. The harvesting time of this variety is 5-7 days.
This variety produces a plant which is short and has a spreading type. It has petioles which are light green in color. The plants take about six months to mature. The flesh is white in color. The fibers of the corm have yellow colored This is basically a table taro variety. This variety is a native variety of Japan. The skin of the corm is also white in color.
Cultivation Of Taro Root
The taro is mainly cultivated for its root or the corm. The leaves and the stalk are also popularly eaten. But, the demand for the corms is usually high. The better varieties produce larger corms. These are then sold in the market. The demand for larger corms is a high international market. To get a better profit margin, the focus should be on the quality of the corms. To produce good quality corms, proper nutrition and irrigation must be provided to the crop. The yield and quality of the taro cultivation determine the sale of the root plant.
Soil Conditions For Taro Root Farming
The taro grows wild in many conditions. So, a wide range of soils can be used for the cultivation of taro. From heavy to light soils, the taro plants can give a good yield in almost all soils. But, it is important that fertile soils are used. The soil must have a good content of organic matter. The taro plants grow well in soils which have a good moisture holding capacity. Most of them grow in swampy and muddy lands. So, water stress must not be put through the taro cultivation. the soil must have a very good moisture holding capacity. If there is minimal moisture in the soil, the yield and quality will be reduced. The ph of the soil must be slightly acidic in nature. The ideal ph for the cultivation of taro root cultivation is 5.5-6.5. The soil also must be friable and well aerated.
Climatic Conditions For Taro Root Farming
The taro plants can be grown in almost any type of climatic conditions. But, the plants do best in wet regions. the taro can be grown in tropical regions too. In that case, enough irrigation has to be provided. Since the taro plants can tolerate wet conditions, they are best grown in wetlands. The average annual rainfall needed for farming of taro is at least 1500mm-2000mm. The ideal temperature for taro root cultivation is 21-27 degree Celsius. High temperature and high humidity are essential for the cultivation of taro root.
Land Preparation For Taro Root Farming
The land must be prepared well especially for the commercial cultivation of taro roots. The weeds and other unwanted plants must be removed from the field. Once the field is clean, the plowing must be done. The plowing should be done enough times till the soil reaches a smooth texture. After that, harrowing or leveling must be done. After the plowing, proper quantities of farmyard manure must be mixed with the soil. in case of taro root cultivation, the mounding is an important process in the field. The mounding must be done to maintain waterlogged conditions in the soil.
Plant Propagation For Taro Root Farming
The taro root cultivation is hardly propagated through seeds. vegetative propagation is done for the cultivation of taro roots. For vegetative propagation, setts are used. The setts must be collected from healthy plants. For setts selection, the lower portion of leaf stalk i.e 30-40cm must be taken along with 1-3cm of sucker corms. For harvesting larger corm size, larger setts must be taken. Also, the greatest advantage of using bigger setts is that they resist many diseases and also grow much faster. The setts must be selected carefully and cleaned properly before using them.
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Planting Methods For Taro Root Farming
The pits must be dug in the main field. the pits must be dug based on the size of the setts. If the holes are too big, weeds may grow. If they are too small, there will be difficulty in the planting of the setts. The clean and healthy corms must only be planted in the main field. After the planting, a light irrigation must be given in the field. Care must be taken especially of the young plants. The young plants can also be transplanted from the nursery.
Planting Season And Planting Density For Taro Root Farming
There is no specific season for the planting of taro. But, usually, the taro planting is done in the beginning of the rainy season. The taro plants need the wet season for good growth. The average planting density is around 10,000 to 45,000 plants per hectare of land.
Irrigation Methods For Taro Root Farming
For taro cultivation, overwatering is not harmful. In fact, in dry areas, plenty of irrigation is required. The plants need plenty of water. Proper watering must be given at all times. In dry weather, plenty of water must be provided in the field. Some varieties need flooded conditions for growth. For that, mounding must be done in the field. the planting is done before the monsoon. So, there is no need for heavy irrigation during monsoon. Water saving techniques might be used for irrigation. Sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation might be used for saving water.
Fertilisers And Manure Application For Taro Root Farming
The taro crop needs sufficient amount of nitrogen and potassium fertilizers for proper growth. A soil test must be done for application of nutrition. The farmyard manure must be applied at the time of land preparation. After that, the macronutrients must be applied in split doses. Nutrition of the crop is especially important for the good growth of the corms. There must also be a proper application of micronutrients.
Intercultural Operations For Taro Root Farming
The weeds must be removed from the taro crop. Weed-free crop is very important for the good growth of the plants. Mulching might help to reduce weeds and also save water. For controlling the weeds, chemicals might be applied. Manual methods may also be used for removal of weeds. Combination methods may also work well for the cultivation of taro plants. The healthy plants should only be kept in the field.
Pests And Disease Control Methods For Taro Root Farming
The most common diseases and pests affecting taro crop are:
- Downy mildew
- Red spider
- Taro leaf blight
- Red spider mites
The pests and diseases may be avoided by proper crop management. Selection of clean corms and application of appropriate pesticides might help to control many of the diseases and pests.
Yield Of Taro Root
The average yield of the taro corms may be 4-30 tonnes per hectare. There have been reports of higher yields as well.
Harvesting Taro Roots
The taro roots reach maturity between 5-12 months. When the roots have reached a desirable size, they must be harvested. at the time of maturity, the corms start to come out of the soil. The leaves of the taro start to become yellow. Then it is time for harvesting them. The corms must be pulled out of the soil by hand to remove them.
Post-Harvest Management And Marketing Of Taro Roots
After harvesting, the corms must be cleaned and then stored. After that, the corms are graded and sorted based on their quality. The corms can be sold cut in pieces in the market. They can also be exported after packing them in appropriate method packaging.
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Benefits Of Taro Root
- The taro roots are high in antioxidants. Therefore they help to prevent cancer. certain compounds in the taro root might help to prevent cancer.
- Taro root is rich in dietary fiber. The dietary fiber can help diabetic patients. It helps to lower the glucose levels in the body.
- Taro is loaded with Vitamin-A. This important vitamin helps to keep the eyes healthy. It also prevents eye-related
- Due to the Vitamin-C content in taro roots, it helps in strengthening the immune system of the body.
- Taro root contains many minerals. It helps in blood circulation in the body.
Taro Root Farming – Conclusion
The taro roots are an important vegetable in the market. The cultivation is very important. It has a huge demand in the international as well as local market. So, proper cultivation of taro roots is very important to get a good profit.