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Current Category » Production Technology of Spices

Package of Practices for Cultivation of Black Pepper

Botanical Name: Piper nigrum
Family: Piperaceae

Origin: Western Ghats of India

Black pepper is considered to be the King of Spices. It is the most important foreign exchange earning commodity among the Indian spices. Pepper alone contributes about 70% of total export earnings from all spices. Popularly it is known as “Black gold” because of its unique position in the international trade.
About 90% of the total production of the world is in India of which about 98 % in Kerala alone. In. Maharashtra, black pepper is grown in the Konkan region.                    

1. Pepper thrives well in humus rich virgin soils.
2. Fertile, well-drake, lomy soil, rich in humus are ideal.
3. Soil pH should be between 5.5 to 7.0
4. The crop is susceptible to water logging and hence is planted by preparing heap of soil on field.                          

1. Native of humid tropics.                                               
2. Require warm and humid climate.
3. High humidity helps for luxuriant crop growth and better yield.
4. Very high or low temperatures axe not conductive for growth,
5. Temperature range: 10 - 40°C.
6. Rainfall: Up to 200 cm.
7. Can be cultivated up to 1500 m above sea level,
8. Crop is pollinated through raindrops and hence frequent showers during flowering are beneficial


1. Propagated vegetatively or by seeds.
2. Commercially propagated by vegetative method (short cuttings).
3. Cuttings with 2-3 nodes are made from vines or runners and raised in plastic bags during February-March.
4. Single node roofed cutting using bamboo method is the best method with an advantage of higher multiplication rate (1:40) and good anchorage due to the presence of two root system.

Planting Methods:

Three systems of planting are followed,
1. Either grown as mono crop by training on support or standards. (Planting distance 3x3 m).
2. Grown as mixed crop with coconut and arecanut.
3. Pepper vines are trained on trees like mango, cashew, jackfait, etc.    


a) Mono Crop:
1. Proper site is selected.
2. Pits of 60 cm3 arc dug at distance of 3 x 3 m.
3. Pits are filled with mixture of 10 to 20 kg of well-decomposed FYM, 1 kg SSP and good soil and 50 g Lindane powder..
4. Pangara rootstocks 1.5 to 2 m long are planted in these pits a year before actual planting of pepper in August-September.
5. Pit of 45 cm3 are dug at 30 cm distance on the east and north sides of Pangara rootstock.
6. Rooted cuttings are then planted in these pits in the month of June-July.
7. Banana varieties like Lai velchi can be planted as intercrop for first three years. This helps to give shade till proper growth of pangara and also obtain additional income.

b) Intercrop:

1. Two pits of 45 cm3 at 30 cm distance on east and north sides of the main crop.
2. Pits are filled as above.
3. Planting of rooted cuttings is done in the months of June-July.

Training and Pruning:

1. Being a perennial climbing shrub, black pepper requires staking, training and tying as and when required during growth.
2. A single stem is maintained up to a height of 1 m by removing lateral branches.
3. In order to facilitate easy harvesting and spraying operations, the growth of vine is regulated up to a height of 7- 8 m.
4. Regulation of shade is done by lopping the branches of standards in order to allow optimum light for the pepper vines.

After Care:

Two diggings are given once in May-June and again in October-November. Weeding and earthing is done for better growth and to improve soil aeration.

Manures and Fertilizers:


a) CPCRI (Central Plantation Crop Research Institute) Kasargod, Kerala : 10 kg FYM, 100 g N, 40 g P2O5 and 150 g K2O / vine / year.
b) KKY, Dapoli: 20 kg FYM, 4 kg Neem cake, 150 g N, 75 g P2O5 and 140g K2O/ vine / year.
2) Application: The recommended does is applied from 3rd year onwards.
1st year            :           1/3rd of recommended dose.
2nd year          :           2/3rd of recommended dose.
3. Does is applied in two splits :
1st split (1st week of September) - Full does of FYM, P2O5, K2O and 1/2 N.
2nd split (February) - Remaining 1/2 dose of N (1/2 N).
4. The above does should be applied in a shallow ring around the vines at a distance of 30 cm.


Irrigation is given at an interval of 7 - 8 days in winter and 2 - 4 days during summer. Mulching with grasses or dried leaves helps in reducing loss of soil moisture during summer months.

Stage of harvesting depends upon the kind of pepper to be made.
1. For black pepper, fully matured berries are harvested when any one berry in cluster shows scarlet red colour.
2. For white pepper, ripened fruits are harvested.

Pepper Oil and Oleoresin:

Pepper oil is obtained by steam distillation of coarsely powered berries yielding 2 to 3.5 % oil Pepper oleoresin is obtained by solvent extraction method by using ground pepper. Ethyl acetate is a useful solvent for extraction. Oleoresin gives true flavor of spice and is used in meat production, vegetables, salads, ketchups and soups.

Average Yield:
2 - 3 kg berries/vine/year.

Current Category » Production Technology of Spices