Kale is a healthy leafy vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family. Many restaurants use kale for its health benefits and flavour. Kale is a minor vegetable in India, but its demand is growing day by day. Kale farmers get different prices for their produce depending on seasons and locations. The price can be from 20 rs to 80 rs per kilo. Kale does not stay fresh for long, so it is hard to transport it far away. Kale is not available in many retail groceries.
How to Grow Kale
Kale grows well in cold places. It can even take on temperatures as low as -10°C to -15°C. Ideally, if your land has sandy soil that is drained well of any irrigation water, kale will grow really well in it. In addition, slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is preferred by kale. You can prepare the soil efficiently by mounting a tiller onto your Swaraj Target 630. There are many kinds of kale, such as dwarf, medium and tall. Dwarf kale has more leaves and less stem than tall kale. Karam saag is a popular variety of kale in Jammu & Kashmir. Siberian and Scottish are good for temperate regions.
Kale farmers sow seeds in nursery beds and then transplant them to the main field. They need to weed, water and fertilise the plants regularly. Also, they need to protect them from pests and diseases. They can harvest the leaves after 60 to 90 days of planting.
Where Kale Grows in India
Maharashtra produces the most kale in India, followed by Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. These four states produce 90% of all kale in India. Maharashtra alone produces 50% of the total kale. People in India eat kale all year round.
How Much Kale India Produces
India produced 1000 tonnes of kale in the year 2021-22. India ranks tenth in the world for kale production. China is the first, producing 30 times more kale than India. India and China together produce 70% of all kale in the world.
Global Market for Kale
India does not export much kale to other countries. It may not be profitable, feasible or a priority. In the year 2020-21, India exported only 1000 kilos of kale, worth around 1.5 thousand USD.
Cultivation area in India
India and kale have not much of a connect, but it is a crop that grows minimally around India. States like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand grow kale.
The market price of kale can vary a lot depending on the demand and supply. Kale can fetch a good price in winter when it is in high demand. The price can range from 10 Rs to 80 Rs per kilo. In summer, though, the price drops because of the low demand and high supply. You can earn 2 lakh rupees to 5 lakh rupees for every acre of kale when it is at high price. But it can also result in an incurred loss of 20,000 Rs per acre at a low price.
You need to have some expertise to grow kale successfully, as it requires specific climatic and soil conditions. If you have experience in growing cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower or other similar crops, it may help you with pest identification and disease management. A 20 minute search over the internet would help you with getting an idea of all the things that you’d have to do to grow kale successfully in your farm.
You need to invest in some infrastructure to grow kale efficiently. Mulching and drip irrigation can help you save on fertilisers and weeding costs. Land preparation cost is nominal, and the crop matures in 90-120 days. However, you need to have well-drained sandy loam soil with high organic matter and a slightly acidic pH for growing kale. Kale can also grow well in pots and containers. Investing in the right equipment will play a huge role in profiting out of kale. You’d want specialised implements to prepare the land or for harvesting. Researching the cost of the equipment and tools, for example, researching the Swaraj 963 would be helpful for you.
You can process kale in various ways to increase its value and shelf life. You can freeze, can, pickle, roast or shred kale for different uses. Fresh kale can last for up to 2 weeks if stored properly. Many processed food units have increased their demand for kale in the last five years.
In conclusion, kale cultivation can be profitable or risky depending on the market price and growing conditions. You need to do your research, invest in the right equipment and grow kale accordingly. Kale is one of the healthiest, most delicious greens you can include in your diet.