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Karbi Anglong Ginger: Types, Cultivation and Health Benefits

In the 2014-2015 financial year, the Government of India granted Karbi Anglong ginger the Geographical Indication Tag. Let’s take a look at the special characteristics of the Karbi Anglong Ginger.

Aarushi Chadha
Karbi Anglong ginger is an organically grown ginger that is cultivated in the district of Karbi Anglong, Assam
Karbi Anglong ginger is an organically grown ginger that is cultivated in the district of Karbi Anglong, Assam

Karbi Anglong is a district in Assam with a population of less than a million. More than half of the population belongs to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Most of the tribes are self-sufficient and agriculture is the main source of income for the people in Karbi Anglong. This region is popular for its tea, ginger, and rubber plantations. While the annual production of ginger is 30,000 tonnes, on average at least 3,000 million tonnes of rubber is produced, and 4.60 million kg of tea.

The two types of ginger- Nadia and Aizol, that are grown in Karbi Anglong get their unique characteristics from the eco-friendly farming methods of the Karbi tribe and the agro-climatic conditions. In the financial year of 2014 to 2015, Karbi Anglong Ginger was granted the Geographical Indication tag by the Government of India. This tag is usually given to products that have a specific geographical origin and possess a reputation because of that origin.

Where and how is Karbi Anglong ginger grown?

Karbi Anglong ginger is an organically grown ginger that is cultivated in the district of Karbi Anglong, Assam. The Karbi Anglong ginger has a unique aroma, flavour, and colour. It has a long shelf life and is largely cultivated by tribal farmers in the region. There are two types of Karbi Anglong ginger: Nadia and Aizol. While Nadia is more fibrous and sold in the domestic market, on the other hand, Aizol is less fibrous and grown specifically for export. 

Farmers practice jhum or slash-and-burn cultivation to grow ginger. The best time for planting ginger is late spring or early summer. The ginger crop usually takes 9 to 10 months to mature properly and is harvested once the rhizomes are still tender, are not very pungent, and have a low fibre content. When it comes to feeding the soil and protecting the crop from pest infestations, the Karbi Anglong tribes use mostly indigenous and organic methods.

While growing ginger, the intercropping method of cultivation is used because ginger is a nutrient-exhausting crop. Therefore, leguminous plants are grown alongside ginger. Farmers also use cattle manure to replace nutrients. Farmers regularly survey the field for pest management.

In case of an infestation by borers, farmers will cut open the shoot, pick the pest, and destroy it. They will also set up light traps to attract insects and spray a mixture of neem oil and water if the infestation persists. Since ginger is prone to diseases caused by root or stem rot, farmers make sure that the soil is well-draining and the water is not staying in one place. They also make sure that the seeds they select for sowing are also disease free.

Health Benefits of Karbi Anglong Ginger

Karbi Anglong Ginger has several healing properties and can benefit our health significantly.

1. Anti-inflammatory and Anti-Bacterial- Karbi Anglong ginger has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that can improve the immune system and reduce free radicals from our bloodstream.

2. Improves Digestion- Karbi Anglong ginger is very gut-friendly. Drinking a glass of warm water that is infused with Karbi Anglong ginger can tackle gut issues such as constipation, nausea, bloating, irregular bowel movement, and acidity. Consuming ginger also generates the feeling of fullness which contributes to weight loss.

3.Eases cold symptoms- Karbi Anglong Ginger has soothing properties that soothe an irritated throat and open blocked nasal passages. It also makes people sleep better and rest when they have a cold.

4. Treats skin infections and improves hair texture- Ginger’s anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can help treat skin issues such as acne, discolouration, and acne scars. Applying the ginger paste to our hair also repairs damage and helps them grow longer, thicker, and stronger.

It is important to mention here that to further promote organic farming in the state, the Department of Agriculture, Assam will host the First Expo on Organic North East from February 3 to 5, 2023. The expo will be organized by the Sikkim State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation ltd (SIMFED).

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