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  Annatto  
 
Introduction :
This is called Latakar, Jaffra, in Hindi, Sinduri puspi, Trinapuspi, Sinkomala, Raktabeeja, Karachamala in Sanskrit, Shadari in Marathi, Sinduri in Gujarati, Annato in English and Bixorellana in Scientific. This is an evergreen shrub and grows to 15 ft. height. This is a native of America and also India. It is grown extensively in Brazil and Mexico for its dye. In India it is grown in Karnataka. AP, MP, TN, Orissa, Maharashtra. Its leves resemble the shape and size of bettle leaves. There are two types of species viz.,

01) White flowers and yellow fruit

02) Red flowers and red fruit


Both shrubs yield fruit in bunches. The fruit is covered with rind and has soft spines. The fruit has orange red seeds in it about 50 in numbr. The shrub blooms between August to December and yields fruit in March/April. On ripening the fruit splits lengthwise and the seeds start appearing. After sometime the seeds will dry up. The dye extracted from the seeds is called Bixin.

Important Uses of Annato :

It is used in medicines for many ailments. This is good for viral fevers and urinary problems. When the red dust on the seeds is mixed with water and applied on the body. It acts as a mosquito repellent.

It is useful for general health if the leaves are ground to past and mixed with missri and taken orally. As the dye is edible it is used for colouring butter, paneer, ghee, margarine, ice creams etc. It is also used as dye on cloth, skin, boot polish, medicines, cosmetics etc.,

Cultivation Practices :
Soil : Any type of soil is suitable for Annato. Red soils and light soils are best suited. It can also be cultivated in black soil, which are having good drainage. It comes up well in pH range of in 6.5 – 8.0. This can be cultivated as sole crop or this can be intercropped with others like turmeric, ginger, Sarpagandha, Ashwagandha, Safed Musli.
 
Climate : It is a tropical plant, so it performs well in India. It grows well in temperature range of 20-450 C and rainfall of about 500 – 750 mm.
 
Planting : Planting can be done during the months of July to September or in January – February. Saplings can be raised from the seeds in April to May.
 
Planting Methods :
  • Plough the field twice or more to remove the weeds.

  • Prepare the pits at 10*10 feet distance.

  • Pit size 1*1*1

  • Mix 5-7 kg of FYM, 100 gms of super phosphate, 400 gms of neem cake, with the soil removed from the pits and fill them with the same.

  • Fill the pits 3/4th and dry them for 10 – 15 days.

  • Press the soil around base of stem before watering to prevent lodging.

  • Apply complex 17:17:17: @ 100 gms, compost 10 kg per plant once in 4 months up to 7 years.

Irrigation :
To establish initially crop requires irrigation. Drip system is advisable for effective use of water.

INTER CULTIVATION : Soil is to be loosened to avoid weed growth and to conserve moisture underneath. Bullock drawn cultivator can remove weeds in between plants.


Plant Protection :
Usually the crop is less prone to pests and diseases. If leaf eating caterpillars and jassids attach the field, apply monocrotophos @ 1.6ml/lt of water. If leaf spot infests the field spray D-M-45 @ 3 gm/lt of water. Spraying the chemicals should be avoided after flowering.

Harvesting :

Yield start from 12th month but first flush to be removed to enable the plant for better vegetative growth. In next 6 months it again flowers and give yield. Yield will be peak from 4th year. Yield will be ½ kg per shrub till 3rd year and it will be 4-5 kg per shrub in 4th year. Total yield is around 14-20 quintal per acre.

Economics :

The going rate for Annato is Rs.20 to 20 per kg. The profit per acre can be upto Rs.40,000/-. Annato is in great demand and it is expected that the demand for it will go on increasing. Annato has bright future in domestic and international market.


Seed Procurement :
As the fruit starts splitting the fruit is picked and kept for drying in shade for 4 days. This is kept in bags in the sun for some time and is beaten with sticks for removing the seeds. The seeds are then filled in the bags and sold. After their life cycle the plants can be removed and used as firewood. This shrub remains evergreen, attractive and aesthetic to surroundings. To extract colour from the seeds, please refer to CFTRI Mysore – 570 013.
 
     
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