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Peppermint: The treasure that is slowly being explored

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
Saumy Deepak Tripathi

Over the past decade, several new crops are being grown for their high resale value across the country. One such crop that has increased in production is peppermint. Peppermint’s scientific name is Mentha × piperita. It is a hybrid mint that is formed through a cross of water mint and spear mint. It is grown in various parts of the world and is now gaining traction in India.

Peppermint requires large amounts of water and thus is found naturally near streams and ponds but it also requires good drainage or else the crops get damaged. The plant is not suitable for dry conditions.

The roots are grown in the off season and then they are ploughed into the soil when the sowing starts, when the roots grow they are cut into small pieces and scattered over the fields. After 20-25 days plants grow out of the roots

These plants are then plucked and are sown in the fields at a distance of one foot apart from one another. After a month when some grass grows it is ploughed again. The space of one foot that is given helps in this process.

After almost 90 days the crop is deemed ready and is plucked from the fields. The harvesting is done before the rainy season and in areas where the rainy season is delayed farmers can grow a second crop.

Peppermint is a very high commercial oriented crop and is mostly sold as a cash crop. It is mainly sold as a raw material for peppermint oil. The oil is mostly used as coolant in oils for muscle pain, nerve pain or headaches. It is also used in peppermint tea or as an added flavour in ice creams, fruit beverages, toothpastes and skin care products.

The sowing season starts in February and the produce is harvested in June, thus the crops also do not interfere in the other crop cycles. There is a major potential of this crop in India but it is not even close to being tapped.

As the government hopes to double farmer's income initiatives like peppermint should be taken to encourage farmers to increase their income.

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