1.                  INTRODUCTION


Aonla (Emblica officinalis) or Indian gooseberry is indigenous to Indian sub-continent. India ranks first in the world in area and production of this crop. Apart from India naturally growing trees are found in different parts of the world like Sri Lanka, Cuba, Puerto Rico, USA (Hawai & Florida), Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, China, Malaysia, Bhutan, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Trinidad, Panama and Japan.


2.                  OBJECTIVE
The main objective of this report is to present a one acre bankable model for high quality commercial cultivation of the crop. 
3.                  BACKGROUND


3.1              Area & Production


Aonla is mostly cultivated in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh etc. (Vide Table-1)


Table 1 : State-wise Area, Production & Productivity of

Aonla during 1999-2000




(‘000 Ha.)


(‘000 MT)



Uttar Pradesh
























Tamil Nadu




Andhra Pradesh




















Source : Market Study of aonla (UPLDC-Nov.,2002).

3.2              Economic Importance
The fruit is a good source of vitamin C. The fruit is having medicinal value. It has acrid, cooling, diuretic and laxative properties. Dried fruits are useful in haemorrhages, diarrhea, dysentery, anaemia, jaundice, dyspepsia and cough. Aonla is used in the indigenous medicines (Aurvedic system) viz. trifla and chavanprash. Fruits are commonly used for preserve (murabbas), pickles, candy, jelly and jam. Besides fruits, leaves, bark and even seeds are being used for various purposes. 


4.1              Demand and Supply patterns
Domestic consumers provide major market to aonla. Increasing health consciousness among people as well as growing popularity of alternate medicine and herbal products is enhancing the requirement of aonla both in domestic and international markets.


4.2              Analysis and Future Strategy


The following measures need to be considered in order to boost production and marketing of aonla.


§                     A three-tier system involving growers, processors and exporters may be formed along with export processing zones and marketing boards.


§                     Storage, pre-cooling and transport facilities to help the growers realize better price.


5.                  PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY


5.1              Agro-climatic requirements


Aonla being a sub-tropical crop prefers dry sub-tropical climate. Heavy frost during the winter season is not suitable for its cultivation.


Slightly acidic to saline/sodic soil having pH between 6.5 to 9.5 is suitable for cultivation.


5.2              Growing and Potential Belts

The state-wise important growing belts are given in the following :



Growing belts


Bewal, Gurgaon

Himachal Pradesh

Palampur, Bilaspur, Hamirpur


Bilgiri Rangan hills in Mysore

Madhya Pradesh

Dewas, Hoshangabad, Shivani, Tikamgarh, Betul, Chindwara, Shivapurkala, Panna, Rewa, Satna

Tamil Nadu

Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Sivagangai, Coimbatore, Salem, Dindugal

Uttar Pradesh

Pratagarh, Rai Bareli, Varanasi, Jaunpur, Sultanpur, Kanpur, Fatehpur, Agra, Mathura


5.3              Varieties Cultivated


Varieties viz. Kanchan (NA 4), Krishna (NA 5), NA 6, NA 7 and NA 10 are commercially cultivated.


5.4              Land Preparation


Land is prepared by ploughing, harrowing, leveling and removing weeds.


5.5              Planting


5.5.1        Planting Material


Aonla is propagated by budding or softwood grafting.


5.5.2        Planting season


Planting of aonla is mainly done in July-August.


5.5.3        Spacing


Grafted or budded plants are planted 4-5 meter apart under square system of layout during July-August or February.



5.5.4        Planting Method


Pits of 1-1.25 m. size are dug two months prior to planting. In each pit 3-4 baskets of well rotten farmyard manure and 1 kg. neem cake or 500 g. bone-meal are mixed with soil and filled in the pits. In sodic soil, 5-8 kg. gypsum along with 20 kg. sand is filled in the pit Irrigation is provided immediately after this. Ber,guava and lemon are usually planted in the centre of each square of aonla plants. Hedge-row planting is also being tried keeping line-to-line distance of 8 m., while plant to plant distance is reduced to 4-5 m.


5.6              Nutrition


A dose of 10 kg. farmyard manure, 100 g. N, 50 g. P and 100 g. K should be given to one year old plants. This dose is increased on yearly basis upto tenth year and thereafter a constant dose is given. Full dose of farmyard manure and P and half of N and K is given in tree basin during January-February. The remaining half should be applied in August. In sodic soils, 100-500 g. of B and zinc sulphate should also be incorporated along with fertilizers as per age of the tree. 


5.7              Irrigation


Irrigation is provided at an interval of 15-20 days in dry summer. No irrigation is required during rainy and winter season. First irrigation is provided just after manure & fertilizer application (January/February). Irrigation is not provided during the flowering period i.e. mid-March and April.


5.7.1        Drip Irrigation


Plant height, canopy spread and stock girth have been found significantly better under alternate day drip irrigation over the conventional method.  With the use of drip irrigation yield of 30 kg/tree is achieved in third year itself in gravelly soil against 20 kg./ tree in 4-5 years in rainfed aonla orchards.     


5.8              Taining & Pruning


The plants are trained to modified central leader system. Two to four branches with wide crotch angle, appearing in the opposite directions should be encouraged in early years. The unwanted branches are pinched off during March-April. In the subsequent years, 4-6 branches should be allowed to develop. Regular pruning of a bearing aonla tree is not required. As per growth habit, shedding of all determinate shoots encourages new growth in coming season. However, dead, infested, broken, weak or overlapping branches should be removed regularly.


5.9              Mulching


Paddy straw, sugarcane trash and farmyard manure are used for mulching.


5.10          Inter-cropping


Vegetables, flowers and a few medicinal /aromatic plants are well suited for intercropping in aonla orchards. The average cost of inter cropping would be Rs.10,000/- per acre.

5.11          Plant Protection Measures
5.11.1    Insect Pests
Leaf rolling caterpillar, shoot gall maker, mealy bug and pomegranate butterfly are major constraints in aonla production. The pests can be managed through clean cultivation, avoiding the over crowing of branches, spraying with malathion or monocrotophos or endosulphon depending on the type of pest infestation.
5.11.2    Diseases
The Crop is suspect to diseases like ring rust, fruit rot, leaf rot etc.Timely treatment and control measures are needed.  
5.11.3    Disorders
Necrosis, a physiological disorder has been observed in aonla fruits. This particular disorder has been observed mostly in case of Banarasi and Francis varieties.


5.12          Harvesting  and Yield


Fully developed brown coloured fruits are harvested. Delay in harvesting results in heavy dropping of fruits in case of some varieties. Harvesting is usually done during the early or in the late hours of the day.


A budded/grafted tree starts bearing third year onwards after planting, whereas a seedling tree may take 6-8 years. Vegetatively propagated plants attain full bearing within 10-12 years and may continue to bear for 60-75 years of age under well managed conditions.


An aonla tree may bear 1-3 q./tree , giving 15-20 tonnes/ha.


6.                  POST HARVEST MANAGEMENT


6.1              Grading


The fruits are harvested manually and sorted according to their size. Fruits are graded into three types on the basis of their size. The large sized fruits are mostly used for preserve and candy; small sized for preparing chavanprash and trifla and the blemished fruits for powder and shampoo making.


6.2              Storage


Fruits can be stored for a period of 6-9 days under ordinary conditions.


6.3              Packing


Bamboo baskets are mostly used for carrying the produce from farm to local market.


6.4              Transportation


Road transport by trucks/lorries is the most convenient mode of transport due to easy approach from orchards to the market.


6.5              Marketing


Most of the growers sell their produce either through trade agents at village level or commission agents at the market.


7.                  TECHNOLOGY SOURCES


Major sources for technology are:


i)                    Horticulture Deptt. Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Lawley Road, Coimbatore-641003.

ii)                   State Horticultural Farm, Periakulam, Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu.

iii)                 State Horticultural Farm, Reddiyarchatram, Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu.

iv)                 Progressive growers of Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu.





8.                  ECONOMICS OF A ONE ACRE MODEL


8.1              High quality commercial cultivation of crop by using improved planting material and drip irrigation leads to multiple benefits viz.


·                     Synchronized  growth, flowering and harvesting;

·                     Reduction in variation of off-type and non-fruit plants;

·                     Improved fruit quality;

·                     Early maturity;

·                     Considerable increase in productivity.


Costs & Returns:


8.2              A one acre plantation of the crop is a highly viable proposition.  The cost components of such a model along with the basis for costing and means of financing are exhibited in Annexures I.   A summary is given in the figure below.  The project cost works out to around Rs.1.25 lakhs.



            Project Cost:

                                                                                                               (Amount in Rs.)

Sl. No.


Proposed Expenditure


Cultivation Expenses




Cost of planting material




Input Cost




Cost of Labour (Land preparation)




Others, if any, (Power)











Tube-well/submersible pump




Cost of Pipeline




Others, if any, please specify







Cost of Drip/Sprinkler







Labour room & Pump house




Agriculture Equipments







Land Development




Soil Leveling












Others, if any, please specify







Land, if newly purchased (Please indicate the year)*



Grand Total


            *Cost of newly purchased land will be limited to 10% of the total project cost.


8.3              The major components of the model are:


·                     Irrigation Infra-structure (Rs.50 thousand):  For effective working with drip irrigation system, it is necessary to install a bore well with diesel/electric pumpset and motor.  This is part cost of tube well.


·                     Drip Irrigation & Fertigation System (Rs.20 thousand):  This is average cost of one acre drip system for the crop inclusive of the cost of fertigation equipment.  The actual cost will vary depending on location, plant population and plot geometry.


·                     Farm Equipment/Implements (Rs.5 thousand): For investment on improved manually operated essential implements a provision of another Rs.5 thousand is included.


·                     Building and Storage (Rs.7.6 thousand):  A one acre orchard would require minimally a labour shed and a store-cum grading/packing room.


·                     Cost of cultivation (Rs.18.40 thousand):  This is to cover costs of land preparation and sowing operations, planting material, inputs and power.


8.4              Labour cost has been put at an average of Rs.70 per man-day.  The actual cost will vary from location to location depending upon minimum wage levels or prevailing wage levels for skilled and unskilled labour.


8.5              Recurring Production Cost:            Recurring costs in the pre & post-operative period are exhibited in Annexure III & III-A respectively.  The main components are planting material, land preparation, inputs .application (FYM, fertilizers, micro-nutrients, plant protection chemicals etc.), labour cost on application of inputs and other farm operations, power, harvesting, packing and transportation. 


8.6              Returns from the Project:  In the initial years of development inter-crops will fetch a return of around Rs.24 thousand annually from year 2 to year 5.  The yield of the main crop will go up from 4 tonnes in year 1 of commercial production to 8 tonnes in year 5 and will stabilize thereafter.  The produce has been valued at Rs.700 per quintal in the first year increasing to Rs.1000 per quintal in fourth year and stabilizing thereafter.


Project Financing


8.7              Balance Sheet:  The projected balance sheet of the model is given at Annexure IV.  There would be three sources of financing the project as below:


                        Source                                                           Rs.Thousand


                        Farmer’s share                                                           62.50                                                   Capital subsidy                                                           25.00

                        Term loan                                                                    37.50

                        Total                                                                            125.00


8.8              Profit & Loss Account:  The cash flow statement may be seen in Annexure V.  The profit and loss account of the model is projected in Annexure VI.  Gross profit increases from Rs.6.20 thousand in year 1 to Rs.51.40 thousand in year 5.


8.9              Repayment of Term Loan:  The term loan will be repaid in 11 equated 6 monthly installments with a moratorium of 72 months.  The rate of interest would have to be negotiated with the financing bank.  It has been put at 12% in the model (vide Annexure VII and VII A).


8.10          Depreciation calculations are given in Annexure VIII.


Project Viability:


8.11          IRR/BCR:  The viability of the project is assessed in Annexure IX over a period of 15 years.  The IRR works out to 27.78 and the BCR to 2.2. 


8.12          The DSCR calculations are presented in Annexure X.  The average DSCR works out to 4.12.


8.13          Payback Period:  On the basis of costs and returns of the model, the pay back period is estimated at 6.63 years (vide Annexure XI). 


8.14          Break-even Point:  The break even point will be reached in the 3rd year.  At this point fixed cost would work out to 66.3% of gross sales - vide Annexure XII.