Large scale or commercial nutmeg farming is a very old, common and popular business in many countries around the world. Nutmeg is very nutritious and it’s production is highly profitable.
Before discussing more about nutmeg farming business, let us discuss more about nutmeg. Nutmeg is actually an evergreen perennial tree that reaches about 10 meter height and produces two different spices. Nutmeg and mace are the output of this tree when you will start commercial nutmeg farming business.
Nutmeg is actually a dried kernel of the seed where as mace is dried aril surroundings of the seed. Nutmeg is the shelled, dried seed of the plant Myristica fragrans, and mace is the dried net-like covering of the shell of the seed.
Nutmeg is actually the seed or ground spice of several spices of the genus Myristica. Fragrant nutmeg or true nutmeg is a dark-leaved evergreen tree cultivated for tow spices derived from it’s fruit (nutmeg from it’s seed, and mace, from the seed covering). It is also a commercial source of an essential oil and nutmeg butter.
Torreya californica or the California nutmeg has a seed of similar appearance, but is not closely related to Myristica fragrans and it is not used as a spice. The main producer of nutmeg and mace is Indonesia.
There are actually different types of nutmeg available, but the most important commercial species is the common, true or gragrant nutmeg which is native to the Moluccas of Indonesia.
Nutmeg trees are dioecious plants which are propagated from seeds and also from cuttings or grafting. Propagation from seeds yields about 50% male seedlings, which are unproductive. That’s why grafting is the preferred method of propagation.
Epicotyl grafting, approach grafting, and patch budding have proved successful, with epicotyl grafting being the most widely adopted standard. Air layering is an alternative though not preferred method because of its low (35–40%) success rate.
You can expect first harvest from nutmeg trees from seven to nine years after planting, and the trees reach full production after about twenty years.
Global production of nutmeg was 142,000 tonnes in the year of 2019, led by Indonesia, Guatemala and India, having 38,000 to 43,000 tonnes each and a combined 85 percent of the world total.
However, commercial nutmeg farming is a very easy and lucrative business. It’s very easy to care the plants and you can start this business for making money even if you are a beginner. Here we are trying to describe more about this business.
Uses of Nutmeg
Nutmeg has numerous uses. Nutmeg and mace have similar sensory qualities, with nutmeg having a slightly sweeter and mace a more delicate flavor. Mace is often preferred in light dishes for the bright orange, saffon-like hue it imparts.
Nutmeg is used for flavoring many dishes. Whole nutmeg can also be ground at home using a grater specifically designed for nutmeg or a multi-purpose grating tool.
The pericarp or fruit covering is used to make jam, or is finely sliced, cooked with sugar and crystallised to make a fragrant candy. In Kerala Malabar region of India, it is used for juice, pickles and chutney.
The essential oil obtained by steam distillation of ground nutmeg is used in the perfumery and pharmaceutical industries.
Nutmeg is very nutritious and it is a rich source of fiber, which helps to keep the digestive system healthy and prevent blood sugar from spiking. It is also a very good source of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Iron etc.
Nutrients Per Serving
One table spoon serving of nutmeg contains:
- Carbohydrates: 1 gram
- Calories: 12
- Fat: 1 gram
- Fiber: 0 gram
- Protein: 0 gram
- Sugar: 1 gram
Health Benefits of Nutmeg
Nutmeg is highly nutritious and consuming it in a regular basis has numerous health benefits. Here we are trying to describe the top health benefits of nutmeg.
- Nutmeg contains powerful antioxidants (including phenolic compounds, essential oils and plant pigments). All of these antioxidants help to prevent cellular damage and may protect against chronic diseases.
- According to healthline, nutmeg may reduce inflammation by inhibiting certain inflammatory enzymes.
- Some animal research suggests that ‘high doses of nutmeg may enhance libido and bed performance’.
- Nutmeg has antibacterial properties and it has antibacterial effects against potentially harmful bacteria, including E. coli and streptococcus mutans.
- Regular consumption of nutmeg can reduce heart disease risk factors.
- Rodent studies have found that nutmeg extract induced significant antidepressant effect in both mice and rats.
- Regular consumption of nutmeg may improve blood sugar control.
Along with the major health benefits described above, there are also some other health benefits of consuming nutmeg.
- Consuming nutmeg is good for digestion.
- Taking nutmeg aids in pain relief.
- It is good for the patients who have Alzheimer’s disease.
- Consuming it on a regular basis is very good for improving brain function.
- Eating nutmeg will help you to sleep better, so it can be helpful in Insomnia patients.
- Taking nutmeg on a regular basis is also good for oral health and it helps leukemia patients.
- Consuming it on a regular basis may helps to lower the blood pressure level.
- Regular consumption nutmeg is also very effective for maintaining bone health.
- Nutmeg is also beneficial for dissolving kidney stones.
- Regular consumption of nutmeg acts as a detoxifier and it helps in eliminating of toxins from the body.
- Nutmeg helps in reducing inflammation and irritation of skin.
Advantages of Nutmeg Farming Business
Like many other agri business, commercial nutmeg farming has also numerous advantages. Here we are trying to describe the top advantages of nutmeg farming business.
- Starting commercial nutmeg farming business is relatively easy and simple, even the beginners can also start this business easily.
- Commercial nutmeg farming is a very good way of income as it is very profitable.
- Large scale production of nutmeg is already an established business and many people are already doing this. So, you don’t hove to worry much about starting and operating this business.
- Nutmeg plants are very strong and hardy and they generally require less caring and other management.
- So, growing them is relatively easy. Even the beginners can also grow and take care of the plants.
- Demand of the nutmeg is increasing gradually, but the price is already very high. So, profits from this business is much higher.
- Marketing nutmeg is very easy and simple, and all the nutmeg products have very good market demand and value.
- As commercial nutmeg farming is very profitable, so it can be a very good business for the educated but unemployed people.
- Commercial production of nutmeg is a very good employment source for the rural people.
- Production costs are much less in commercial nutmeg farming business. Costs are very less once the plants are established.
- Labor costs and other caring costs are relatively less in nutmeg farming as compared to many other crop farming business.
- Nutmeg is very nutritious and healthy, and you can enjoy fresh nutmeg if you start your own production business.
How to Start Nutmeg Farming
Starting commercial nutmeg farming business is just like starting other fruit farming business. It’s very easy and simple, even the beginners can also start this business easily.
We recommend having practical knowledge or experience before starting this business. Here we are trying to describe more about this business from planting, caring to harvesting and marketing.
First of all, you have to select very fertile land for starting your nutmeg farming business. Well drained, fertile and organic content rich soils are much better for good growth of the plants and also for higher yield.
The best suited soils for nutmeg farming are sandy loam, clay loam and red laterite. Drought and water stagnation conditions are not suitable for commercial nutmeg farming business. The plants grows best with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0
Prepare the Soil
Preparing the land perfectly is also very important. Plough the land throughly till attains fine tilth stage for destroying any weeds from previous crops. Add as much organic contents as you can while preparing the soil.
Climate Requirement For Nutmeg Farming
Nutmeg plants grow well in humid and warm climatic conditions. The plants generally require an annual rainfall of 150 cm and above. They can grow up to 1000 meters above mean sea level.
Choose a Variety
Choosing the right variety is very important. There are actually numerous varieties available to choose from, and some improved varieties are also available. You can consult with your local producers for having better recommendations.
Propagation is done by both seeds and grafting. Patch budding and approach grafting are also popular propagation method of nutmeg.
You can produce seedlings either from seeds or from grafting. You can avoid all these hassle if you purchase the seedlings from any of your nearest nursery.
Planting the seedlings in the main field should be done at the onset of monsoon or rainy season. Dig the pits of 0.75 meter x 0.75 meter and these pits should be filled with organic manure and good soil, about 2 weeks earlier to actual planting.
The exact planting spacing varies widely and spacing 7 meter to 8 meter appears to be sufficient. And 5 meter x 5 meter should be optimum in case of grafting. Provide shade and water after planting the seedlings.
Taking good care of the plants is very important for good growth and maximum production. Here we are trying to describe the common caring process of the nutmeg plants.
Organic fertilizers are generally used for growing nutmeg plants. Although a dose of chemical fertilizer will also help to grow the plants better. Consult with an expert in your area for better recommendations.
Nutmeg plants generally require good irrigation/watering for good yield and also for good quality fruits. Although, exact frequency of irrigation depends on the season, moisture holding capacity of the soil and plant age. The plants require frequent irrigation during the summer seasons.
Weeds consume nutrients from the soil. So, it’s very important to control the weeds. Manual weeding will be very beneficial for controlling weeds.
Mulching & Shading
Regular mulching of plant basins will be beneficial especially during the initial years after planting. Banana trees can be grown for shading purpose in the early stage of nutmeg plantation/plant growth.
You can cultivate any low growing vegetables as intercrops in nutmeg farming, especially during the initial stage of plantation. Nutmeg can be best grown as an intercrop in old coconut orchards, clove, areca-nut and coffee gardens, where light shade conditions are suitable.
Pests & Diseases
Like many other fruit trees, the nutmeg trees are also prone to some common pests and diseases. The hard scale saissetia nigra occurs on the pencil thick branches and desaps the tissues. The infested shoots invariably develop sooty mould cover, and it can be controlled by spot spraying with quinalphos 0.025%.
Fruit rot is caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and Botryodiplodia theobromae. Water soaked lesions are seen on the fruits, the tissues of which become discolored and disintegrated.
Premature splitting of the pericarp and rotting of mace and seed are the main symptoms of the disease. You can control this disease by spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture.
Leaf Spot & Shot Hole
Sunken spots surrounded by a yellow hole are the initial symptoms of leaf spot and shot hole. Spray 1% Bordeaux mixture 2-3 times during rainy season for controlling this disease.
Female nutmeg trees generally start fruiting from the 6th year and the peak harvesting period reaches after 20 years. The fruits will be ready for harvesting 9 months after flowering.
In commercial nutmeg farming, flowering and harvesting continues throughout the year. The nutmeg fruits are ripen and become ready for harvesting when their pericarp splits open.
Harvesting of the nutmeg should be done by bill hook. The outer fleshy portion should be removed and the mace should manually be separated from the nut. The nuts and mace should be dried separately for 3 to 5 days.
It’s very tough to tell the exact number of amount. Because exact amount depends on the soil, weather conditions and farm management practices.
In commercial nutmeg farming business, you can expect 480 kg mace per hectare and 3122 kg nuts per hectare from the 8th year. But total yield will increase in subsequent years. A potential yield of 4,800 kg mace per hectare and 31,000 kg nuts per hectare can be obtained from 25 years old trees.
Marketing nutmeg products is very easy and simple. You will be able to easily sell your products in the local market or any nearest town. Although, we recommend determining your marketing strategies before starting this business.
These are the common steps and ways for starting and operating a successful nutmeg farming business. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck & may God bless you!