1.                  INTRODUCTION 


Patchouli (Pogostemon patchouli) is a branched, erect, perennial aromatic herb with quardiangular stems (family: Lamiaceae). It is considered to be a native of Phillippines and Malaysia.  The leaves are covered with trichomes all over the epidermis, which contains the essential oil. The oil is obtained by steam distillation of shade dried leaves.           


The herb is grown extensively in tropical climate of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapur, China and Brazil, preferably under partial shade.


2.                  OBJECTIVE


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


3.                  BACKGROUND


3.1              Botanical Description


The plant is a perennial, small bushy herb which yields fragrant leaves containing very sweet smelling oil. The leaves are simple, ovate to oblong ovate, leathery, dentate margins pale to purplish green in colour. Flowers are borne both in axillary and terminal spikes. But seed is not produced . The propagation of the crop is through stem cutting.


3.2              Area and Production


The world production of oil is around 800 t/annum. Java produces 2/3 of this quantity followed by China and Malaysia. Cultivation in India has been meager but is picking up in the last 5 years and is around 600 ha, producing 20 tonnes of oil per annum.  It is cultivated in coastal regions of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Assam and West Bengal.




3.3              Economic Importance


While 92% of the oil is non-odoriferous, the rest is made up of mixture of sesquiterpenes of which norpatchoulenol and  b - patchoulene and and γ-guaislene are major aroma compounds making it a complex contributing to its characteristic odour. These are difficult to synthesize or substitute and hence natural oil from cultivation remains the only source of oil. The odour is warm, sweet, herbaceous with camphoraceous (spicy) fragrance. The oil has strong fixative properties and blends very well with oils of sandalwood, geranium, vetiver, clove etc. giving strength and tenacity for making heavy perfumes of lasting odour.




4.1              Demand and Supply Patterns


Demand of Patchouli oil in India is large and met at present by import. Its demand is growing at a faster pace than that for most of the other essential oils. It is used in scents, cosmetics, body lotions, shaving lotions, toiletory products, tobacco products, detergents and incense sticks.  Very low concentration (2 ppm) of the oil is used for flavouring beverages, frozen deserts, candy, baked food and gelatins.


4.2              Import / Export Trends


An average of 20 tonnes of oil and 100 t of formulated oil come into the country annually largely from Singapore and Indonesia.


4.3              Analysis and Future Strategy


The oil of patchouli is extensively used in perfumery industry. There is no synthetic substitute for the oil which increases its demand in the perfumery market.


The major producers of the oil are Indonesia and China. If given proper attention, India could be a key player in the production of this valuable aromatic oil.


Soil and climatic conditions along the entire west coast of the country with plentiful rain, good drainage and temperatures of 20 to 35oC are ideally suited for patchouli cultivation.  The plant is a sturdy perennial, requiring only farmyard manure and an organic pesticide, like neem-cake.  Water logging poses a threat to the plants, especially as it is susceptible to nematodes. Trials conducted in Assam, Kerala and Karnataka have not been successful due to the problem of nematode attack.

5.                  PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY


5.1              Agro-Climatic Requirements


It is a tropical crop which can also be grown under sub- tropical conditions.  Patchouli grows successfully upto an altitude of 800-1000m above the msl. It prefers a warm and humid climate. The crop can be grown successfully under a fairly heavy and evenly distributed rainfall, ranging from 150-300 cm per annum. 

Patchouli is a hardy plant and adapts itself to a wide range of soil conditions. It requires deep, well-drained, fertile, slightly acidic, deep loamy soil, rich in humus and nutrients.  It flourishes best in loose deep loamy soils, rich in organic matter which makes a loose friable texture. The pH of the soil should range from 5.5 to 7.5 for good growth.


5.2              Growing and Potential Belts


It is cultivated in the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Assam & West Bengal.  Its cultivation should be encouraged in coastal region of southern states where rainfall is high for larger part of the year and consequently the atmospheric humidity also remains high.


5.3              Varieties


The cultivated varieties are named after countries of origin viz. cv. Java, Singapore etc.   Oil obtained from these varieties is of best quality in terms of chemical composition and odour value.  The others are cv. Johore and Malaysia with harsh odour.


5.4              Propagation

Patchouli is vegetatively propagated. The nursery is raised in shade by planting 10-12 cm. long cuttings at 10 X 10 cm. spacing during the rainy season and the seed beds are kept continuously moist. Under favourable conditions, about 85-90 % cuttings put forth roots in a fortnight and they are ready for planting in the field in next six to eight weeks at 60 x 60 or 60 X 90 cm. spacing. The nursery should be located under partial shade.  Cuttings from fairly developed branches, 4-5 nodes in length and with a crown of 2-3 leaves, are ideal for planting in the nursery.  Application of a commercial hormone like Seradix B-2 to the basal end of the cutting encourages early rooting. The cuttings should then be planted in seed pans, nursery beds or in polythene bags with the help of a suitable dibbler at a spacing of about 5-10 cm. Aeration, partial shade and regular watering are essential for early rooting. The cuttings take about 30-35 days for rooting in the nursery.

5.5              Land Preparation


The land is prepared to good tilth by ploughing, harrowing and planting. The main field is thoroughly disced and tilled. It is given 10 to 20 tonnes of FYM or compost in land preparation. Suitable nematicide, viz., Furadan @20 kg/ha.(a.i. 30%) or Dasanit @ 150 kg/ha (a.i. 5%) is broadcast and mixed well into the soil a few days before transplanting the rooted plants. The plot is then laid out into ridges and furrows. The ridge should be 20-25 cm high and 18-22 cm broad with a spacing of 60 cm between the rows. The beds should be irrigated a day before the transplantation. It is found that growing of Periwinkle on borders of the field protects the crop from nematode infestation and may be tried commercially.


5.6              Shading


Patchouli is a shade loving plant. It has been successfully grown as an undercrop in arecanut and coconut orchards (under irrigated conditions) in Kerala state. It could also be taken up by planting suitable shade trees. Gliricidia or Erythrina could be planted well in advance at 5 X 5 m spacing in patchouli field in order to provide the necessary shade.


5.7              Method of Planting


Rooted cuttings are transplanted generally in the evening in the field. Usually, the planting is done at 60 x 60 cm apart and around 28,000 rooted plants are required per hectare.  However, a spacing of 60x60 cm. with a population of 12000 plants per acre has been considered in the present model.


5.8              Irrigation


The field is irrigated immediately after transplantation. During early stages shade and sufficient moisture are most important requirements for survival of these plants.  The field is irrigated frequently until the plants establish, thereafter irrigation schedule is modified depending on water holding capacity of the soil and weather conditions.  Immediately after transplanting the field must be irrigated every day for the first 3 to 4 days and subsequently on alternate days for 10 to 15 days.  Depending on the type of soil and climatic conditions, irrigation is provided once or twice a week for a period of three weeks.  The crop is highly susceptible to water logging.


5.9              Nutrition


Patchouli requires rich soil in order to obtain optimum yield and better quality of the oil. Normally, a basal dose of 25 kg N, 50 kg P2 O5 and 50 kg K2 O per hectare is given in the form of Urea, Superphosphate and Muriate of potash. After about two months, 25 kg N in the form of urea is applied as top dressing. Likewise, for each harvest 50 kg N is applied in two split doses, the first dose just after the harvest and the other about two months later. In total, 150 kg N per hectare per year is applied to the crop. In zinc deficient soil, 25 - 50 kg zinc sulphate per hectare is applied. Micronutrients and growth regulators are sprayed after every harvest and after soil tests.


5.10          Intercultural Operations


The crop is kept free of weeds by two weedings before first harvest and one weeding cum hoeing after each harvest. The field should be kept weed-free during the first 2 to 3 months of crop growth either by wheel hoeing (2 to 3 times) or by hand weeding. Weeding is also necessary after about a month of each harvest.


5.11          Plant Protection Measures


5.11.1    Insect Pests

The crop is suspect to Root-knot Nematode attacks (Meloidogyne Incognita).  Heavily infected plants are stunted in growth and wilt. The infested plants droop and perish during the next 2 or 3 months.   Application of Furadan @ 20 kg / ha (3% a.i.) or Dasanit 150 kg /ha (5% a.i.) checks the infection.  Pre-planting treatment with nematocide as first dose and the second dose after one year of transplanting is recommended.  Nursery should be raised from healthy mother stock under nematode-free conditions.

5.11.2    Diseases
The crop is suspect to Leaf Blight (Cercospora sp).  Brown spots appear near the margin or at the apical region of the leaves when the plants are almost one year old.  Spots enlarge irregularly, coalesce, and cover the entire lamina and the leaves gradually dry up.  Application of two sprays of Dithane Z-78 0.5%, at one-month interval is the recommended control measure.


5.12          Harvesting and Yield


The first crop is ready for harvesting 4 to 6 months after transplanting.  Subsequent harvests can be taken after every 3-4 months, depending upon the soil fertility, climate and management practices. The first 2 or 3 harvests of newly planted plantation give good yield and high quality oil.  The crop can be maintained for 3 years. 
The crop should not be harvested prematurely as it gives less yield and oil of inferior quality. The harvested leaves are dried in thin layers in shade for 3-4 days when these develop their characteristic odour. Mature thick stalks are removed as these contain no oil. Ageing on storage improves odour of the leaves and therefore, the crop is stored for six months before distillation. 
A good crop stand yields about 2 tonnes of dry leaves per annum. The oil is found mainly in the leaf and small quantity is present in the tender parts of the stem. The yield of fresh leaves/acre/year from three harvests is about 8,000kg which on shade drying reduces to 1600kg and on distillation yields about 40kg of oil. The oil content varies from 2.5 to 3.5% in shade dried leaves. An average yield of 2.5% is considered satisfactory in commercial distillations. Higher yield of 60 kg./acre./annum is recorded in south-east Asian countries.
6.                  POST HARVEST MANAGEMENT


6.1              Drying


The harvested material is spread out under shade in thin layers and is turned periodically to ensure proper drying. For higher recovery and good quality of oil, moisture content of herbage should be between 8-10 %. Drying normally requires 3-6 days.  Properly dried leaves develop characteristic patchouli aroma, which is less noticeable in fresh leaves.


6.2              Distillation


The oil is distilled from the air-dried herb by using steam or hydro distillation process. The recovery of oil from the shade dried herb varies between 2.5 - 3.5 per cent. The duration of distillation is 8 to 11 hours for complete recovery of the oil. Properly dried leaves produce good oil yield and better quality of oil.


6.3              Storage & Packing of Oil


It is to be ensured that the essential oil does not contain any water before storage.  The oil is stored in glass bottles or drums made up of steel or aluminium depending upon the quantity of oil to be stored.  The containers are filled up to the brim, tightly capped and stored in a cool, dry & dark place.


7.                  SOURCES OF TECHNOLOGY


(i)                 Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow – 226 015

[Tel: (0522) 2359623]


(ii)               National Medicinal Plants Board, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, New Delhi – 110 001. [Tel: (011) 2331 9255]


(iii)             Horticultural College & Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore – 641 003 [Tel: (0422) 244 5414]

8.                  ECONOMICS OF A ONE ACRE MODEL


8.1              High quality commercial cultivation of the crop is a highly profitable venture for the small farmer.


Costs & Returns


8.2              The economics of 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 are exhibited in Annexures I & II.   A summary is given in the figure below.  The project cost works out to Rs.2.20 lakhs.



                                                                                                               (Amount in Rs.)

Sl. No.


Proposed Expenditure


Cultivation Expenses




Cost of planting material




Manures & fertilizers




Insecticides & pesticides




Cost of Labour




Others, if any, (Power)











Tube-well/submersible pump




Cost of Pipeline




Others, if any, please specify







Cost of Drip/Sprinkler







Pump house and labour shed




Distillation unit & Store




Agriculture Equipments & Machinery




Others, if any (Drying platform)







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 one-tenth of the total project cost

8.3              The major components of the model are:


·                     The NHB subsidy for land acquisition is limited to 10% of the project cost.

·                     Land Development:  (Rs.4.0 thousand):  This is the labour cost of shaping and dressing the land site.

·                     Fencing (Rs.29.6 thousand):  It is necessary to guard the high value crop by a proper fencing to prevent poaching.

·                     Irrigation Infra-structure (Rs.60.0 thousand):  It is necessary to install a bore well with diesel/electric pumpset and motor for providing adequate irrigation support.  This is part cost of tube-well

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

·                     Equipment/Implements (Rs.20 thousand):  A one acre farm would not be able to invest on heavy or costly machinery but will have to hire such services for which a provision of Rs.10 thousand is included. For distillation unit machinery is also required for which provision of another Rs.10 thousand is included.

·                     Building and Storage (Rs.53.0 thousand):  A one acre farm would require minimally a drying platform, a labour shed and a store room & distillation unit.


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 production costs are exhibited in Annexure III.  The main components are planting material, land preparation, purchase of inputs, labour cost on application of inputs, inter-cultural & other farm operations and power.


8.6              Besides, provision is also included for processing (extraction of oil) and marketing.  The total recurring production cost for a one acre farm increase from Rs.21.14 thousand in the first year to Rs.23.98 thousand in the second and third year.


8.7              Returns from the Project:  The per annum yield from the plantation is estimated at 1280 kg in terms of leaves in the first year and 1500 kgs. In second and third year.  The value of the resultant produce, in terms of oil, is estimated at Rs.72 thousand in first year increasing Rs.84 thousand per annum in subsequent years. 


Project Financing


8.8.            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                                               110.00                                                             Capital subsidy                                                  44.00

                                    Term loan                                                           66.00

                                    Total                                                               220.00


8.9.            Profit & Loss Account:  The cash flow statement may be seen in Annexure V. The profit and loss account of the model is projected at Annexure VI.  Gross profit over the three year period comes to Rs.69.10 thousand.


8.10.        Repayment of Term Loan:   The term loan will be repaid in eleven equated 6 monthly installments of Rs.6.00 thousand each with a moratorium of 12 months.  The rate of interest would have to be negotiated with the financing bank. It has been put at 12% in the model (vide Annexures VII).  The repayment schedule has been presented at Annexure-VII A.


8.11.        Depreciation calculations are given in Annexure-VIII.


Project Viability:


8.12.        IRR/BCR:  The viability of the project is assessed in Annexure IX over a period of 5 years.  The IRR works out to 27.23 and the BCR to 1.5.


8.13.        The Debt Service coverage ratio calculations are presented in Annexure X.  The average DSCR works out to 3.42.


8.14.        Payback Period:  On the basis of costs and returns of the model, the pay back period is estimated at 4.23 years (vide Annexure XI). 


8.15.        Break-even Point:  The break even point will be reached in the 3rd year.  At this point fixed cost would work out to 57.7% of gross sales - vide Annexure XII.