Henna Farming : Excellent commercial crop of infertile and rainfed farms, earning a lot of money year after year at low cost
Henna plantation remains very fertile and profitable for 20 to 30 years, although it is said that it gives yield for 100 years.
Although Pali district of Rajasthan is a stronghold of henna cultivation and allied agro-based industries, but henna is such a multi-year drought resistant shrub that has the potential to bring happiness in the lives of farmers of many such other areas of the country. Especially, whose soil is stony, rocky, light, heavy, saline and alkaline. Apart from this, those who do not have the means of irrigation and who want to avoid the hassle of planting new crops again and again. Henna can be grown very easily in areas with hot and dry climate and good income can be earned.
Henna cultivation is a great option even for fallow and barren land. Henna is used in cosmetics and medicine rooms. That is why it enjoys the status of a commercial crop. But more than this, the quality of Mehndi is that it can be grown in infertile, rainfed and irrigated fields. The cultivation of henna does not require chemical pesticides and the cost of cultivation is low. Due to commercial use, henna products are easily sold in the market. Henna conserves soil moisture. There is a certainty of annual yield because its bushes are not particularly affected by natural calamities like floods and droughts.
Iranian plant grows all over India
Henna means fragrance. It is originally an Iranian plant, but is found in many Arab countries, as well as in Egypt and Africa. It is found all over India. In many places, they are also planted for the fencing of fields and gardens. The fragrance of its flowers is pleasing. Henna is cultivated mainly for its leaves, which are most commonly used for dyeing.
Henna is a small bushy tree. Its branches are spiny, leaves are dark green and sharp. Its white flowers bloom in clusters and they contain many seeds. Once henna is applied, its crop is available for many years.
Use of Henna
Henna leaves, bark, fruit and seeds are used in many medicines. It is phlegm and choleretic. Its fruits make medicines related to sleep, fever, diarrhoea and blood flow, while the paste prepared from the leaves and flowers is used in leprosy. The juice of henna leaves is also used in case of headache and jaundice. The elements found in henna are lasone 2-hydroxy, 1-4 nipable vinone, resin, tannin golic acid, glucose, fat, mucilage and quinone.
Do not irrigate in henna cultivation
According to experts from Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Pali affiliated to ICAR-CAZRI (Central Arid Zone Research Institute), the soil should be well moistened only at the time of sowing of henna. After this, irrigation should not be done in the cultivation of henna. This reduces the pigmentation of the leaves.
However, in case of extreme drought, henna cultivation may need to be watered. Mehndi cultivation can also be done as direct sowing and transplanting of pen-ready plants in nursery. For seed preparation in shady nursery, seedlings should be developed by spraying seeds in March-April and then they should be planted in the field in July after the onset of monsoon.
Field preparation for Henna
In the field of henna, with the first rain of monsoon, 2-3 times deep plowing with a soil-reversing plow and plowing the pad. So that the harmful germs of the soil are destroyed. To get more yield, adding 8-10 tonnes per hectare of decomposed manure or compost will also be very beneficial. For termite control, 10 percent methyl parathion powder should also be added to the soil.
Henna seed treatment and seed rate
For cultivation of henna by spraying directly in the field, 20 kg seed per one hectare is sufficient. Before sowing in nursery, henna seeds are kept soaked in water continuously for 10-15 days. Its water should be changed daily and then dried in light shade. Henna is sown in February-March. The right time for transplanting plants is July-August.
Sowing, weeding and fertilizing
The treated seed is sown by mixing sand equally in the beds or in the field. After sweeping lightly, sprinkle fine rotten cow dung on the seeds and cover them. The seeds germinate two to three weeks after sowing. When the nursery plants reach a height of 40-50 cm, they should be planted in a straight line in the field at a distance of 50 cm. One month after transplanting, weeding should be done to remove weeds. For proper growth of henna, nitrogen should be applied on both sides of the rows of plants at the rate of 40 kg per hectare every year at the time of first weeding. In case of good rains, the same amount of nitrogen should be given at the time of second weeding.
Harvest Henna in clear weather
The weather at the time of harvesting henna should be clear and open for yield. The first cutting should be done in March-April and the second cutting in October-November from about 2-3 inches above the ground. The lower part of its branches should be cut before the leaves turn yellow and fall, because half of the yield of henna leaves is obtained from the lower quarter of the plant.
The harvested leaves should be dried for three to four days. During this, no water should fall on the produce, as a single shower can spoil the quality of henna. Dry leaves should be kept in sacks and in a dry place.
Yield and earning from henna cultivation
On average, 1200 to 1600 kg of dry leaves per hectare are obtained from the rainfed crop of Henna. However, in the first three years, the yield can be as high as 500 to 700 kg per hectare. Henna plantation remains very fertile and profitable for 20 to 30 years. However, it is also said that once it is sown, the yield of henna can be obtained for a hundred years. Its cultivation costs about 20 thousand rupees in the first year. But from the second year onwards it remains half. Dry leaves of henna are sold in the market for Rs 25 to 30 per kg.
Why Rajasthani Henna is unique?
Rajasthan is the major producing state of henna. The hot sun and dry summer climate of western Rajasthan and Marwar add brilliant colour to the leaves of henna. That is why henna is the main crop of 40,000 hectares of land in Pali district of the state. Sojat town of Pali is the main business center of henna. This is the most important market of henna, hence it is also called ‘Mehndi Mandi’. There are 50-60 factories in Sojat for cleaning and powdering of henna. They provide livelihood to about 5000 people. Their products are sold under more than 125 brand names all over the world including India.
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