A number of countries are growing ginger (Zingiber officinale ) including china, Indonesia, Nigeria, Thailand and Uganda. Ginger is exported to Japan, Hong Kong, Britain Northern Ireland, Sudan and Congo. In Uganda (Kampala) ginger is brought in Owino, Nakasero and Bwaise markets. The major ginger growing districts in Uganda are: Gomba, Mpigi, Wakiso, Mukono , Masaka Kibogo, Mubende etc. In Kagadi and kibaale districts ginger is not commonly grown but a few farmers in Kagadi, Rutete and a few other sub counties have embraced it on a commercial scale.
Nutritional contents of ginger
Ginger contains carbohydrates, protein, fiber, ash, calcium, potassium, iron thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin C
Uses of ginger
- It is consumed fresh, dry, powdered or as ginger tea.
- it adds flavor to food
- it is an ingredient in the manufacture of soft drinks (stony soda)
- it is used as a preservative for food
- Treats cough, flue, asthma, arthritis, Covid 19, etc.
- Improves blood circulation
- Reduces fat deposits in arteries
- It generates income; ginger sells at 8,000/= -10,000/= per kg in central parts of Uganda. A kilo goes for 4000= in Kagadi.
- Local land race (enyoro/enganda)
- Hybrid type
The hybrid type matures about 1 month earlier and gives more yield per acre than the local land race.
Propagation of ginger
Ginger is vegetatively propagated by use of ginger rhizomes.
Preparation of planting materials:
- Select good rhizomes that are plump, free of wrinkles and with visible eyes.
- The rhizomes should be pre-germinated as follows:
- Cut rhizomes into pieces with one or more eyes.
- Dry cut pieces 4-5 days
- Cover the pieces in a shallow pit with little water added.
- Only the sprouted rhizomes should be removed to be planted.
Ginger grows well in tropical climate with both hot land wet seasons; it requires high quality well-draining soil with high organic matter. It prefers mildly acidic soils 5.0-6.5 PH and temperature of 22-25oC; the land should be at altitude of 1,500m above sea level; sheltered from wind; moist but not swampy.
Ginger can be planted by one of the following methods
- Seed bed. The land should be deeply ploughed and soil loosened to a fine filth. Spacing of 1 ft x 2ft or 1ft by 1ft is used
- Ginger pit. The pit many be at any size depending on quantity of seed however most farmers use10x15x6ft
The depth may be between 4-6ft and not more than 10ft.
Here ginger is spaced at 1ft by 1ft. The ginger pit is first filled with maize cobs up to 5ft leaving only about 1ft that is filled with soil. The seed is planted in the soil. The cob should be placed at 4-6weeks before planting.
In seed bed or ginger pit, plant sprouted rhizomes about 3 – 5cm bellow loose soil. Select rhizomes with 3-4 sprouted eyes. The eyes should be placed pointing upwards. The spacing is 1x1ft and 1x2ft in pit and seed bed respectively. 1 Acre requires about 4 bags. Mulching may be done with coffee husks or any other suitable materials. In case there are no rains watering may be done to provide water to the crop. Fertilize the garden with NPK (50kg/ acre) or you may use organic manure.
Caring for the planted crop
Water the crop regularly in case the rain is not sufficient to keep the soil dump.
Monitor for germination and gap fill where germination did not occur. Weed regularly to keep the field weed free.
Pest management and Disease management
- Pests; ginger is not attacked by most pest but the following are common pests in ginger; Earth worms, aphids, scale, root nearly bugs.
Pest Control; spray with pesticides to kill pests. Common pesticides used include Striker, cyper methrin, Imidacloprid, Imax, lava, rocket, etc. The integrated pest (IPM) management methods may also be applied.
- Disease management
They include; leaf spot, rhizome rot, bacterial wilt.
Management of ginger diseases; field sanitation, fertilizer application and other IPM methods, you may spray with Mancozeb cupper or metalaxyl fungicides to control fungal infections.
Harvest when ginger rhizomes turn yellow and wither (dries); 8-10 months; Harvest mostly for the market and not for storage
Dig out rhizomes car fully with forked hoe, shake soil off and trim off roots. 1 Bag of ginger planted may produce 7-10 bags of harvest. Ginger for planting, unlike that for food should not be cleaned to minimize on injury.
Pest harvest handling of ginger for food
- The ginger rhizomes should be cleaned (washed, trimmed and disinfected with sodium hypochlorite.
- Air dry the ginger rhizomes
- Grade ginger according to size weight, appearance.
Store in a warm dry location; may cover with thick layers of mulch in pits for 1 year. Keep only old rhizomes. You may leave it soil until next season
Ginger may be processed into ginger powder, an ingredient in ginger tea, and a plethora of other products. The fresh ginger rhizomes may be squeezed to get out the juice which is an ingredient in manufacture of alcohol, soft drinks, perfumes and herbal medicine.
Ginger may be preserved or sold fresh. It is sold in Kilograms or sacks.
1kg goes for 8,000 to 10,000= in Kampala but in Kagadi district it is 3,500 to 4,000=
Tumuhe Charles Lwanga is the Agricultural Officer for Kyenzige Sub County, Kagadi District LG. He holds a Bachelor of Agriculture and a Master of Science in Environment and Natural resources. Email: email@example.com