Black Pepper in kerala

Black Pepper or black gold has earned Kerala transnational fame. The Malayalam name for pepper is kurumulaku. Pepper is the berry of Piper nigrum, a climbing perennial shrub. It is usually grown in the moist regions of south India. The creeper has swollen nods with clinging roots on its either sides. It is grown on support trees and the roots help the creeper to anchor on the trees. The single-seeded fruits grow spirally on fleshy pedantries. The fruit is spherical in shape and green in colour, which turns red on ripening.

black-pepperThe sun dried fruit is black pepper which is in high demand in the spice market. Besides the green pepper, white pepper is also sold in the market, which is the kernel after removing the skin. The skin is the most pungent part of the seed and hence white pepper is for those who want the less fiery variety. White pepper is used in products such as mayonnaise when the black specks of black pepper are not desired.

The other Indian states that grow pepper are Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Pepper is an inevitable ingredient for several culinary delights. Besides hot taste and aroma, it is added to dishes to correct the seasoning. Pepper is a good preservative which is used in baking, pickling, canning and for preserving meat.

Black pepper from perennial vine Piper nigrum L. (Family: Piperaceae) is the world’s most important spice. Considered ‘The King of Spices’, black pepper is the whole dried fruit while white pepper is the dried seed after removing the fruit wall. Black pepper is native to India and the tropical evergreen forests of the Malabar Coast of Southern India are considered the center of origin.black-pepper

Black pepper is cultivated in over 1,58,000 hectares in the States of Kerala (96%), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, certain pockets of Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, North Eastern States and Andaman & Nicobar islands. Over 100 cultivars of black pepper are prevalent in main among which Karimunda, Kalluvally, Balankotta and Malligesara are most popular besides the hybrid Panniyur-1 to 5.

Under cultivation the black pepper vines are trailed on living or non-living standards. As a monocrop their height is restricted to 4-6m giving a columnar appearance. In India the most common support trees used are Erythrina spp., Garuga pinnata and Grevilea robusta. Usually about 1600 vines are planted per hectare with 2.5 x 2.5 m spacing. Rooted cuttings are used as planting material. The vines start flowering after 2nd year of planting in May-June and the mature spikes become ready for harvest in December.

Black pepper grows successfully between 20o North and 20o South of Equator, and from sea level up to 1500 above MSL. The crop tolerates temperatures between 10o – 40oC. Pepper is grown as rainfed crop and a well-distributed annual rainfall of 125-200cm is considered ideal. Pepper can be grown in a wide range of soils with a pH of 4.5 – 6.0. Well-drained red lateritic or alluvial soils rich in humus are ideal. A fertiliser dose of 100 gN, 40g P2O5 and 140g of K2O per vine per year in two split doses one in April-May and another in August-September is recommended for better yields. Besides, farmyard manure may be given at the rate of 10kg per vine.black-pepper

rot caused by the fungus Phytophthora capsici; slow decline caused by nematodes viz., Radopholus similis and Meloidogyne incognita; hollow berries (“pollu”) caused by a beetle Longitarsus nigripennis, are the major production constraints. Spraying the vines with 1% Bordeaux mixture application of Bordeaux paste to the collar and drenching the basin with 2-3 litters of 1% Bordeaux mixture once in May-June and again during August-September are recommended for the control of ‘Phytophthora foot rot’, along with phytosanitary measures. Application of phorate at the rate of 30g/vine twice a year is recommended for the control of the nematodes R. similis and M. incognita. Spraying of 0.05% endosulfan or quinalphos twice a year during June-July and September-October is effective in controlling the pests.