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India is the World’s Largest Producer of Hemp. It has been cultivated here for centuries and is an essential part of the Country’s Heritage. In this blog post, We’ll look at the History of Hemp Cultivation in India, as well as the Industry’s current state.
Introduction to Hemp Cultivation in India
Hemp is an annual Herbaceous flowering plant in the Cannabaceae Family. It is a dioecious plant, which means that it can be separated into male and female plants. Male plants are typically taller and thinner than female plants. Both sexes produce flowers that contain the Cannabinoids THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). The flowers of the female plant are especially rich in CBD, while those of the male plant tend to have more THC.
Hemp has been cultivated for Millennia in Asia and the Middle East for its Fibre (Hemp Hurds) and Seed Oil. It was only recently in the last few decades that Hemp Cultivation began to spread to other parts of the world, including Europe and North America.
In India, Hemp has a long History of Cultivation, going back at least 2000 years. It was an essential source of Fibre for Clothes, Ropes and Canvas, as well as Oil for Lamps. In fact, Hemp was so valued that it was often used as currency. The Atharva Veda one of the four sacred Hindu texts – even describes Hemp as “The Most Valuable of all Plants“.
Despite its long history of use, Hemp Cultivation in India is currently banned under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985. This Act prohibits the Cultivation of any plant that contains more than 0.3% THC (The Primary Psychoactive Compound in Cannabis). However, there is a growing movement to change this law and allow farmers to grow this versatile crop once again.
History of Hemp Cultivation in India
Hemp is thought to have originated in Central Asia, and it has been used in India for centuries for a variety of purposes, such as insulation, food, and medicine. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in Hemp Cultivation in India, thanks to the government’s support for renewable and sustainable sources of materials.
Traditional Use of Hemp in India
Hemp has been Cultivated in India for centuries, and it has played an essential role in the country’s history. Hemp was traditionally used for a variety of purposes, including ropes and sails. It was also used to make clothing and paper. In fact, Hemp was so important to the Indian economy that it was once known as “white gold.”
Sadly, Hemp Cultivation in India has declined in recent years. This is due to a number of factors, including the rise of synthetic fibres and the criminalization of Cannabis. However, there is still a small but dedicated community of farmers who continue to grow Hemp in India. These farmers are keeping alive a centuries-old tradition and helping to ensure that Hemp remains an important part of India’s History.
The Current Situation of Hemp Cultivation in India
In India, hemp cultivation has seen a revival in recent years. Traditionally, Hemp was grown for its fibre, which was used to make ropes and fabrics. Today, Hemp is being grown for its CBD Oil, which is used in a variety of products.
The Government’s Stance on Hemp Cultivation
The Government of India has released several pro-hemp cultivation policies in the past two years. In 2016, the government declared their support for hemp cultivation and released a detailed report outlining the many Benefits of Hemp. This report called for more research on hemp cultivation and encouraged farmers to start growing Hemp.
In 2017, the Indian Ministry of Agriculture issued a notice that urged all states to start hemp cultivation programs. The notice also outlined the many Benefits of Hemp and how it can be used to improve the lives of farmers.
In 2018, the government released a policy paper that called for the Legalization of Hemp Cultivation. The paper also outlined the many benefits of Hemp and How it can be used to improve the lives of farmers and the economy.
The Government has also issued several patents for new products made from Hemp. In 2017, a patent was issued for a new type of rope made from Hemp Fibre. In 2018, a patent was issued for a new type of paper made from Hemp Fibre.
The Government is also working on developing new varieties of Hemp that are higher yielding and have higher concentrations of CBD.
Steps Involved in Hemp Cultivation
Hemp can be grown as a Fibre, Protein Seed or Oil Seed Crop. Hemp is one of the oldest domesticated crops known to man and has been used for paper, clothing, plastics, fuel, and construction materials throughout history.
The first and foremost thing that needs to be considered while preparing the land for hemp cultivation is the soil. The soil should be free from any type of impurities, such as stones, boulders, and roots. It should also have a good drainage system. The ideal pH range for Hemp Cultivation is 6.0 to 7.5.
The second important factor is the climate. Hemp Grows well in tropical and subtropical climates. However, it cannot tolerate extreme cold or hot temperatures. The ideal temperature range for Hemp Cultivation is 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.
Thirdly, you need to choose the right variety of Hemp Seeds according to your climate and soil conditions. There are two main types of Hemp Seeds – Indica and Sativa. Indica seeds are suitable for colder climates, while Sativa seeds are ideal for hot and humid climates.
Once you have selected the right type of Seed, you need to sow them in the soil at a depth of 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm). Sow the seeds evenly so that they have enough space to germinate and grow properly. After sowing, water the area well so that the seeds are moistened properly.
Sowing and Spacing
Hemp is a Broadcast Crop, which means that the seeds are sown by hand or by machinery over the surface of the prepared seedbed. One of the most important aspects of sowing is getting the correct plant density. This will determine the yield, Fibre quality, and oil content of the plants.
The recommended plant density for Hemp Cultivation in India is 5-8 plants per square metre. Once the seedlings have germinated, they must be thinned out to this spacing. Closer spacing will result in weaker plants that are more susceptible to disease and pests. Wider spacing will result in fewer plants that can produce more fibre per square metre.
Once the seedlings have germinated, they must be thinned out to this spacing. Closer spacing will result in weaker plants that are more susceptible to disease and pests. Wider spacing will result in fewer plants that can produce more fibre per square metre.
Weed Management is an important step in Hemp Cultivation. The objective of weed management is to reduce losses due to weeds and to ensure that the crop grows well. There are various methods of weed management, such as mechanical, chemical, and biological control.
Mechanical Control: This method involves the use of Machines to Remove Weeds from the field.
Chemical Control: This method involves the use of Herbicides to Kill Weeds.
Biological Control: This method involves the use of living organisms, such as insects, to control weeds.
The most common method of Weed Management in India is mechanical control.
For a Crop like Hemp, water is required at different stages, and the required quantity also changes with changes in the stage of the crop. Generally, a Hemp Crop needs more water during the vegetative stage as compared to the flowering stage. An irrigation schedule for a Hemp Crop is given below:
The Sowing of the Crop can be done either by broadcasting or by line sowing. Broadcasting is suitable for sandy soils and line sowing for all Types of Soils. The seed rate for broadcast and line sowings are 75 kg/ha and 50 kg/ha, respectively. Seed should be treated with any one of the Fungicides like Carbendazim or Thiram @ 2g/kg of seed to avoid damping off disease.
The field should be ploughed 4-5 times until a fine tilth is achieved. A basal dose of fertilizer should be given as per soil test recommendations one month before sowing. If recommended fertilizers are not available, then any one fertilizer can be used like Urea @ 50 kg/ha or DAP @ 15 kg/ha or MOP @ 20 kg/ha can be used as basal dose along with SSP @ 10 kg/ha . The recommended dose of seed should be sown uniformly in rows at a depth of 2-3 cm, maintaining a row-to-row and plant-to-plant distance of 15 cm x 10 cm, respectively.
The Process of Hemp Cultivation begins with Harvesting the plant. The timing of the harvest is crucial, as it can determine the quality of the final product. If the plant is harvested too early, it will be low in THC (The main Psychoactive Compound in Cannabis). If it is harvested too late, it will be high in CBD (A Non-Psychoactive Compound). There are several methods of harvesting hemp, but the most common is to cut down the plant and hang it upside down to dry.
Hemp cultivation in India has a long history and is an important part of the country’s cultural Heritage. The plant is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent and has been used for centuries in a variety of Traditional Medical and Ayurvedic Practices. Hemp Cultivation was made illegal in the country in 1985, but the plant has recently seen a resurgence in popularity. In 2017, the Government of India Legalized the Cultivation of Hemp for Industrial purposes.
There are many Potential Benefits to Hemp Cultivation in India. The plant is a source of important industrial Fibres and can also be used to make a variety of products, including paper, rope, cloth, and oil. Hemp Cultivation can help to boost the country’s economy and create new jobs in rural areas. The plant is also known for its Environmental Benefits, as it requires little water to grow and helps to improve soil quality.
Hemp Cultivation faces some challenges in India, however. The plant is still illegal in some states, and there is limited infrastructure for growing and processing it. There is also a lack of awareness about Hemp among members of the general public. Despite these challenges, Hemp has great potential as an agricultural crop in India and could play an important role in the country’s future.