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Production and distribution of nucleus planting materials


1.1 Production and distribution of nucleus planting materials of spices

The Mission programmes on spices implemented in different states such as area expansion, replanting, rejuvenation etc. requires sizeable quantity of quality planting materials of the respective spicecrops.  In order to meet the requirement of various planting materials for the development programmes, small nurseries are proposed to be established in the selected locations on the identified spices and aromatic crops.  Quite a good number of varieties of various spices and aromatic crops have been evolved from various Research Centres.  However, adequate quantities of planting materials of these varieties are not supplied to the State Departments for large scale multiplication and distribution to the farmers, even after the long period of their releases, due to lack of sufficient infrastructure and funds available at the crop improvement centres.   As a result, the planting material production programmes of the State Governments are mostly limited to the available stock of materials, which may not be able to generate the desired impact in the production front.  The ICAR vision document 2050 also stresses the need to increase the nucleus planting material production.

Availability of good quality planting material is the key to the success of spice cultivation as it accounts for about 40% of total cost of production in ginger and turmeric and the long-standing crop of black pepper and tree spices. Hence selection of quality material for planting and its storage till the planting season is very important.

            Availability of good quality planting material of high yielding varieties is negligible compared to the demand. In order to improve the situation, DASD has directly taken up nucleus planting material production programme with all the available released high yielding varieties by building up the required facilities in the Research Farms attached to the SAUs, ICAR Institutes etc.  The Directorate assesses the requirement of nucleus planting materials well in advance for various State Horticulture Mission Programmes. All the selected spice crops under these programmes assigned to the State Governments are included for planting material production under DASD programme. The nucleus planting materials produced are supplied for further multiplication to the State Governments/farmers based on their requirements for various programmes in subsequent year. Wherever Certification Standards are not available, Truth Full Labeled (TFL) seeds will be produced with due care given on all the quality parameters. The nucleus materials are to be produced by SAUs/ ICAR institutes on firm indents and distributed following the norms of the SAU / ICAR Institutes. 100% assistance is provided to the SAUs / Central Institutes for taking up these programmes. It would be the responsibility of the producing agencies to ensure quality of the planting material produced by them.

The quantity of nucleus planting materials of the spice crops to be produced during 2021-22, the unit cost of production, physical target for the year and financial requirement thereon are given below. 

Table 1. Production of nucleus planting materials – physical target and financial requirement.





Cost per unit (Rs in Lakhs)

Physical Target


(Rs in lakhs)


Black Pepper / Betelvine

Nos in lakhs





Ginger rhizomes

Quantity in (tonnes)





Ginger protray seedlings

Nos in lakhs





Turmeric rhizomes

Quantity in (tonnes)





Turmeric protray seedlings

Nos in lakhs





Chilli seeds

Quantity (quintals)





Seed spices

Quantity (tonnes)






Quantity (tonnes)





Bush Pepper

Nos in lakhs






Tree spices grafts/seedlings



a. Nutmeg grafts



Nos in lakhs






Nos in lakhs





b. Tamarind / Kokum grafts

Nos in lakhs





c. Clove /Allspice seedlings

Nos in lakhs





d. Cinnamon /Cassia /Curry leaf seedlings

Nos in lakhs





Aromatic Plants












1.2. Establishment of Baroj for Nucleus Planting Material production of Betelvine in Lalitpur District, Uttar Pradesh

            The Bundelkhand area of Uttar Pradesh is well known for betelvine cultivation, with a cultivation of an area of around 56.3 ha and production of 3500 Lakh Leaves per year. In Bundelkhand, Betel vine is cultivated in districts such as Mahoba, Lalitpur and Banda. There is a well-established market for the Betel leaf of this area which creates scope for area expansion.Bangla, Calcuttia, Kapuri are the major promising varieties of betelvine cultivated in Bundelkhand region.

The traditional area under cultivation of this crop has declined substantially during the recent years due to several factors. Betel leaf cultivation requires regular watering: four times a day in summer and twice a week in winters. The traditional areas of pan cultivation are situated near water sources, but the prolonged drought has dried up most ponds and dug wells in these areas. Non-Availability of quality planting material have also been listed as a major issue faced by growers in this area. During 2020-21, DASD in association with BUAT, Banda had established hi-tech Baroj for production of quality planting material in Mahoba District to support area expansion programmes in the area.  The Directorate establishes nucleus planting material production centre for betelvine at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Lalitpur district in association with the university with the following objectives.

    • To provide disease free planting material of promising cultivars.
    • To introduce advanced technologies and scientific production practices in betel production.
    • To supplement the efforts for area expansion of betelvine.
    • To facilitate enhanced income and employment in rural areas through betelvine cultivation

Betelvine plants will be raised in bareja system (closed structure) under shadenet structure of 750 sq m at KVK Lalitpur district. As the area is facing shortage of water, provision for deep borewell is also made under the programme. It is estimated that an amount of Rs. 15.60 Lakhs may be required for establishment of these facilities. Component wise split up is provided in the table below.

Table 5: Establishment cost for shadenet structure for raising Betelvine baroj



Materials required

Per unit cost

(Rs. in Lakh)


Construction of 750 sq.mBareja




Shade Net 1 No. (500 sq.m. each)




Planting material

10000 cuttings



Operational Cost








Deep Borewell




Establishment of Drip Irrigation




Training of farmers in Lalitpur district







Rupees -Fifteen Lakh and sixty Thousand only


1.3. Small nursery for Spices and Aromatic plants

The Directorate setup small nurseries (1 ha) in National Research Institutes/Agricultural Universities to generate sufficient quality planting materials of spices and aromatic plants which are in good demand in the domestic industries and also for the export.  The nurseries will be having provision for naturally ventilated green houses and net houses and it would meet the specific standards of a model nursery with the capacity to produce a minimum 25,000 numbers of the planting material per hectare duly certified for its quality.  The spices nurseries taken up under this programme need to be got accredited by DASD immediately after its establishment.   It is proposed to setup 2 Nos of small nurseries in selected SAUs awhere adequate nucleus planting materials of released varieties are available


1.4.  Establishment of Large Cardamom nurseries

            Large cardamom (AmmomumsubulatumRoxb.) which belongs to the family Zingiberaceae is the main cash crop in the NE states.  The propagation is usually done through seeds and suckers.  The propagation through seeds enables production of virus free seedlings but such plants are not high yielders due to cross pollination, further, it also takes long time for field planting.  On the other hand, producing planting material through suckers ensures true to type plants with high productivity, if collected from high yielding, disease free plants.  Hence all the farmers practice only sucker multiplication as a mode of propagation. 

            In usual practice, the suckers are directly collected from the plantations without maintaining the mother block and sold as such, hence the genuineness and health of the suckers are questionable.  There is no systematic nursery activity undertaken for the production of true to type, healthy quality planting material. The crop has an optimum shade requirement of 50% in nurseries for production of good quality suckers but the same is not practiced by the nursery men. 

            The Directorate had introduced the concept of “Nursery” for large cardamom crop in the state of Sikkim, in order to ensure that only quality planting material of genuine variety is  traded within and outside the state. Five nurseries were established for the crop under state department following the DASD guidelines for production of disease-free quality planting material in Large cardamom. The Directorate propose to establish similar nurseries in other states where there is huge demand for planting material.


There is great demand for planting material of large cardamom in the NE &H states where suitable conditions for the crop cultivation are available.   Viral and fungal diseases are a serious problem in growing areas which could annihilate the plantation as such.  Since the source of planting materials are suckers which are collected from plantations where they are grown in the open or under improper conditions of shade and without proper check on genuinity of the variety, the quality of the suckers supplied is seriously compromised.  This leads to the spread of disease and loss to the farmers as the suckers are of varying bearing capacities.  Hence, it is of paramount importance that the individuals involved in the trade of suckers are introduced with the concept of establishing nurseries with proper infrastructure for the production of good quality planting materials.

Two important infrastructures required for a sucker nursery are:

  • A sucker nursery should essentially provide uniform shade to the extent of 50% which is achieved through raising nursery under a pandal with 50% shade net.
  • A mother block developed with plants derived from high yielding variety suitable for a particular region, to ensure genuinity of the planting material produced.

            Most of the nursery men, generally farmers, who are involved in sale of the planting material, does not have the financial background to invest in establishing of a large cardamom sucker nursery to meet the required criteria for accreditation.  The Directorate proposes to extend financial assistance to the individuals / public institutions to establish large cardamom nursery which will help in introducing the concept of nursery in large cardamom and develop a network of accredited nursery across the growing areas to ensure production and sale of quality planting material in large cardamom.  This will help reducing the risk of farmers growing large cardamom within and outside the state, thereby increasing production per unit area and incomes thereto.

Financial aspects:       Establishing a sucker nursery of large cardamom in an area of one acre involves an expenditure of Rs.3.00 lakhs if pandal is raised on bamboo poles and Rs.5.00 lakhs if the pandal is raised on iron poles. 

Working procedure:  Any private individual and public institution will be eligible to apply for financial assistance for establishing sucker nursery under this scheme. Public institutional financial assistance is 100% of the unit cost and for private individual it is 50% of the unit cost.             The application need to be submitted in the prescribed format and should be accompanied by

  • The project proposal along with the layout of the nursery showing the location of the infrastructure components, land utilization plan;
  • Copy of possession certificate of land.

            The application should be recommended by the local Horticulture Office of the Department of Horticulture of the respective state and routed through the Department.   On receipt of the application by the Directorate, an officer of the Directorate of Arecanut & Spices Development will conduct a preliminary inspection of the site and if found eligible will issue permit order for undertaking the work.  The financial assistance is given as a back ended subsidy.  The beneficiary needs to approach bank for availing bank loan for undertaking the work.  On completion of the work, an officer of the Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development will do the final inspection and recommend release of eligible subsidy.  The subsidy will be released to the loan account of the beneficiary.

Benefits of the Programme:  In this programme the Directorate proposes to establish large cardamom nurseries in the selected locations for quality planting material production for the year 2021-22 which will meet the norms of accreditation. This will augur the capability in supplying quality planting material of large cardamom for the farmers within and outside states.


1.5. Upgradation of spice nurseries

            Non-availability of quality planting material has been identified as one of the most important factors that has restricted the production and productivity of horticultural crops. In spices also, the major constraints in production is inadequate availability of quality planting material.   With a view to ensure availability of genuine (true to types) and quality planting material, Government of India has introduced a system of Nursery Accreditation, wherein nurseries are graded based on their infrastructure and capacity to produce quality planting material.  The Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development (DASD) has been entrusted with the accreditation of Nurseries of Spices Crops in the country.

            Both private and public sector nurseries are involved in catering to the need of the farmers but very few nurseries qualify the norms required for accreditation of nurseries.  They lack the modern infrastructure which plays a major role in ensuring quality of planting material.  Therefore, it is very essential that the infrastructure of the existing nurseries be strengthened to meet the accreditation norms and improve their capacity to produce quality planting material.  If the financial assistance is provided to the nurseries for upgradation, the availability of quality planting material can be improved in the country.

Objective :

                 1.      To strengthen the infrastructure of the existing nurseries to meet the accreditation norms and to ensure production and supply of good quality disease free planting material of desired high yielding varieties;

                 2.       To develop a network of accredited nurseries to fulfill the requirement of planting material of the spice growers. 


            Non-availability of quality planting material had been a major bottleneck in improving the production and productivity of spices crop.  Govt./Public Sector nurseries could hardly cater to 10-15% of the total requirement of planting material in the spices sector.  The rest has to be met through private sector.  Poor quality planting material supplied by private nurseries cause great loss to the farmers especially in perennial crops where they realize the truth only after couple of years.  Genuinity of the variety and health of the planting material raised are two important factors that determine the quality of planting material.  These two factors can be addressed only if there is required infrastructure in the nurseries.

            As the price of the Black Pepper and Nutmeg improved, the demand for planting material increased and hundreds of small unregulated private nurseries spanned in these tracts which started selling planting material of poor quality and at high price, leaving the farmers a disgruntled lot.  There are a number of genuine nursery men who wish to produce quality planting material but do not have the financial resources to acquire the infrastructure required to do so.

            In this programme, the Directorate attempt to help the nurseries both in public and private sector to build up their infrastructure and develop their capability to produce good quality planting material.  The important component required as infrastructure are soil solarization unit, work shed for mixing potting mixture, the mist chambers for root and shoot development, poly houses for giving right environment for growth, hardening sheds, irrigation facility etc.  The most important of all this, is the mother block which is the source of the propagule used for planting material.              

            Through this programme, the Directorate will rope in good number of nurseries into the loop of accredited nurseries thereby creating a national level capability and set standards for the production of quality planting material in spices thereby catering to the ever-increasingdemand of quality planting material among the spices farmers.  This will have an effect on the income levels of farmers and would spurt an increase in production and productivity of spices at the national level.  

Working Procedure:

            Any individual nursery men/public sector organization is eligible for claiming financial assistance provided under this programme on ‘first cum first serve basis’ and subject to the availability of funds.  For private nursery men, it is essential that they obtain bank loan for the above purpose and the eligible subsidy will be credited to the loan accounts on completion of the work.  Under the Scheme, both upgradation of nurseries through addition of new structure/equipments and renovation of the existing structure/equipment will be considered.  The proposal submitted should be of a maximum of Rs.10 lakhs for a nursery of 4 ha. area.  For Public Sector 100% subsidy can be given.  For private sector 50% subsidy may be given upto a maximum of Rs.5 lakhs per nursery as back ended subsidy.  

            The most commonly required components are listed in table below with the cost norms that apply for it.

Table 6: Components for nursery upgradation




Rate of assistance

Upgradation of nurseries to meet the accreditation norms


White polythene sheet 50 microns thickness (for solarisation)




Workshed construction 13mx6.6m

85.8 sq.m

2160/ sq.m


Establishment of motherblock and maintenance for 2 years/ strengthening

1 acre



Fertigation unit for the motherblock

1 acre



Mist chamber/ hardening unit

60 sq.m

2500/- sq.m


Establishment of new poly house

500 sq.m



Establishment of shade ne t house

500 sq.m



Equipments/ machineries

  • Trolley mounted power sprayer
  • Trolley for transportation of plants and others


50 lit





Renovation of the existing structure


Renovation of the existing structure

UV sheet

Aluminium locking profile

50%shade net



500 sq.m








            Applications will be processed at the level of the Directorate and disposed off.  The application with components which are not listed in the above table will be given for processing to a one-man committee appointed by the Directorate, who will submit his recommendation. 

            Application for availing assistance under this scheme shall be submitted in the prescribed form with the following documents (private nurseries): -

              (1)  The project proposal along with the layout of the nursery showing the location of the infrastructure components, land utilization plan;

              (2)    Copy of possession certificate of land.

            On receipt of the application, an officer of the Directorate will conduct a preliminary inspection, if the component requested are the one listed above, and submit the recommendation.  In case the components are other than the one listed above; it will be referred to a one-man committee appointed by the Directorate.   If eligible, the applicant would be issued a permit letter.  The applicant will then have to approach a Bank for availing bank loan.  On completion of the work, an officer of the Directorate will conduct a final inspection and recommend for release of subsidy.  The subsidy will finally be released to the loan account of the applicant.

Benefit of the Programme:    The Directorate proposes to upgrade/renovate about 5 nurseries which will be brought into the loop of accredited nurseries thereby increasing the quantum of quality planting material available to the farmers across the spice growing belt.

1.6. Seed processing and storage infrastructure

The seeds produced at the seed production centres have to be stored properly after various processing treatments for a reasonable period of time ranging from 3 to 9 months, requiring adequate storage facilities. In order to facilitate proper handling, processing, storage and packaging of seeds, assistance would be provided for creating infrastructure like drying platforms; threshing, cleaning, winnowing and grading machineries; desiccators; storage structures / storage bins; packaging units and other related equipments.  A lump sum amount of Rs.10.00 lakhs is provided to establish these facilities. 100% assistance will be provided to the SAUs and ICAR Institutes assigned with seed production programme. This programme is being implemented since 2005-06 under NHM and has contributed significantly in the development of seed processing infrastructure and storage facilities in various SAUs and Central Institutes. During 2021-22, the facility will be provided at 5 centres based on the project submitted by them.