Makhana, or fox nuts, is a famous crop that produces edible seeds. It is mostly grown in West Bengal, Bihar, Manipur, Tripura, Assam, and Uttar Pradesh. Furthermore, Bihar is the world’s largest producer of Makhana, accounting for 90% of total global output.
Fox nuts have been commonly used in fasting and as a snack food for generations and offer several health benefits. It is beneficial to the spleen and kidneys when it comes to nutritional content; almonds, walnuts, cashews, and other dry fruits pale in contrast to fox nuts.
Interested in growing Makhana or planning to start Makhana farming? Let’s discuss the Makhana tree benefits first. After that, we’ll understand the key tips to grow and harvest Makhana.
Steps to Sow, Grow & Harvest Makhana Farming
Here are some factors you need to know for better growth and harvest of Makhana farming.
Makhana is suitable to grow in smooth loamy soil. It grows best in reservoirs, ponds, and low-lying areas where water can accumulate up to 4-6 feet deep. However, The soil layer should be 50 to 60 cm in depth.
Makhana, or fox nut, is a plant that is mostly found and grown in tropical and subtropical climates. The crop requires a conducive range of temperature between 20 to 35 degrees Celsius. Makhana cultivation requires the right temperature of air ranging between 22 degrees Celsius to 37 degrees Celsius. It also requires an optimal level of humidity which ranges between 40% to 95%. Annual rainfall of 120 cm to 270 cm is considered ideal for Makhana cultivation. Bihar produces 90% of the world’s Makhana, and it is grown in low-lying areas, ponds, and swampy wastelands. Makhana farming is considered a climate-resilient crop, and it is suitable for regions with uncertain weather conditions.
Propagation of Makhana
Makhana, also known as fox nut, is propagated by spreading seeds from past crops or markets. The seeds can be dispersed in the field in ponds or marshy wastelands. The depth of the pond can range between 4-6 feet, and it must constantly contain stagnant water.
Planting & Spacing
Makhana farming is a time-consuming and labour-intensive procedure. Its process includes the extraction of mud from seeds by workers. Farmers work for more than four days, wading through water up to four feet deep, kneeling in the scorching sun, and roasting the seeds in a carefully managed series of heated woks. Makhana cultivation needs so much hard work, and it is a long and difficult process.
In the field system of makhana cultivation, the selected piece of land needs to be well prepared in advance by properly nourishing the seedlings. This process is done by spraying fertilizers.
Harvesting & yield
The most challenging component of makhana cultivation is harvesting. The harvesting process requests that seeds be collected from the sludge at the pond’s bottom. The seeds are roasted for 4-6 minutes in an earthen or cast iron pan at temperatures ranging from 250° C to 3000° C, with continual stirring and heating. These seeds are kept in a dry place for 3-4 days, and internal edible components of Makhana are removed. Farmers should also make sure to use the best equipment, like a Cultivator, for harvesting.
How To Prevent Pests And Diseases In Makhana Farming?
The prevention of pests and diseases differs from location, climate and agriculture. Therefore, it is necessary to follow some steps to keep the pest and diseases at bay. Here are a few steps to prevent pests and diseases in makhana cultivation:
- Insect pests like leaf rollers, fruit borers and stem borers can harm makhana plants. In order to prevent these pests, you can use biopesticides or insecticides.
- Sometimes blight or hypertrophy attack makhana plants. So to control this, farmers can use fungicides.
- Makhana plants can also be harmed by parasites like nematodes. This disease can be avoided by using nematicides.
- Crop rotation can also aid in pest and disease prevention in makhana farming. Farmers should cycle Makhana with other crops to avoid pests and illnesses from accumulating in the soil.
- Farmers can also practice regular sanitation practices like ridding sick plant parts and cleaning instruments.
- Farmers can also practice integrated pest management techniques to avoid pests and diseases. To manage pests and diseases in a sustainable manner, IPM employs a combination of cultural, biological, and chemical control approaches.
Top Makhana Producing States in India
Makhana grows in following states:
- Bihar (Madhubani)
- Madhya Pradesh
- Jammu and Kashmir
The Export Countries of Makhana are:
- United States
Makhana Farming Profit & Scope
- Makhana cultivation is one of the highly successful and profitable businesses in India, but it is quite expensive.
- Farmers in India can earn a decent living from Makhana farming. Bihar farmers earn Rs. 11,051 per acre of Makhana grown, for a total value of Rs. 59,299 per acre.
- Makhana farming requires less money since fresh plants grow quickly from leftover seeds from prior harvests.
- Makhana farming is a drought-tolerant crop that can resist severe rains and storms. It is also appropriate for low-lying locations prone to floods.
- Makhana farming profit also depends on the transportation of products as well. To deliver the product on time, a farmer should use good Implements like power tiller & tractors.
Challenges in Makhana Farming
In India, makhana farming has a number of challenges that affect both farmers and the economy. Makhana cultivation is a labour-intensive operation, and farmers experience a shortage of qualified labour on the ground. Workers must spend hours in water cultivating and harvesting foxnuts. Producing varieties of Makhana is a challenging process; therefore, it needs water management.