A succulent plant species of the genus Aloe is the Aloe Vera plant. It grows in tropical regions with origins traced to Arabian Peninsula. The plant is extensively cultivated based on its many applications in medicine.
The plant has thick fleshy leaves with serrated small white teeth. They have yellow tubular corolla and the short stem plant grows 70 to 100 cm tall. Cultivated worldwide they are popular in Nigeria, Cape Verde, Sudan and Canary Island.
Things to Consider before starting an Aloe Farm
Things to consider before starting the farm are funding, land, soil quality. Others are harvesting period, market base, labour and equipment. Write a business plant, secure a permit and buy appropriate specie.
- Soil quality
- Harvesting period
- Market base
- Business plan
- secure a permit
- buy the plant
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
The Aloe Vera plant has been subjected to scientific research and tests. They found many health benefits and cosmetic applications for the plant. However herbal solutions are not rigorously researched scientifically. Herbal solution claims are purely at the discretion of regulatory bodies or producers.
Common benefits and uses are the reduction of constipation and diabetes induced foot ulcers. Other claims are protection from ultra violet rays, reduction is skin damage.
More include antimicrobial properties, antioxidant and burn soothing cream. We have significant difference in irritable bowel syndrome, alleviates depression, effective against tooth and gum disease.
- Reduce constipation
- Reduce diabetes induced foot ulcers
- Protection from ultra violet rays
- Reduction is skin damage
- Antimicrobial properties
- Burn soothing cream
- Difference in irritable bowel syndrome
- Alleviates depression
- Effective against tooth and gum disease
Uses of Ale Vera
Aloe Vera has been used early 16th century BC and ancient Egypt. The plants leaves and sap are used in many applications. Uses include herbal remedies, cosmetic or flavouring.
It has therapeutic properties and common in food supplements. It is made into creams, beverages, skin lotions, ointments. The plants interesting features make them a good ornamental plant.
Aloe Vera Products
- Herbal remedies
- Therapeutic properties
- Food supplements
- Skin lotions
- Ornamental plant
- Facial tissues
- Shaving cream
The plants are rugged and ideal for desert regions. They can thrive in low water regions and withstand intense heat. This is because of the succulent nature and hardiness.
The plant does not like very cold regions, frost or snow. The plant is resistant to pests require sandy, well drained flowering pots to grow. You can use terra cotta pots, remove outgrowths and replant to provide space.
Although the plant is pest resistant there are many insects that attack the plant. Common pests are scale insects, aphids, spider mites, mealy bugs.
- Scale insects
- Spider mites
- Mealy bugs
The ideal climatic condition for aloe Vera farming is dry climate. They grow in warm, humid regions with minimal rainfall. The plant does not grow well in cold weather and perfect rainfall conditions are from 55 to 280 mm
Aloe Vera Business Plan
Every business venture needs a comprehensive business plan. Write an Aloe Vera farming business plan and carry out a feasibility study. The plant should cover land, soil management, funding. Other considerations are selection of species, equipment and marketing.
Land for Cultivation
The size of the land depends on your business template. A large commercial farm can start with 2 to 3 acre of land. A small operation can use pots to grow the plants. You can achieve 25 tons of leaves with 2 acres of land.
You need to provide a watering system like a borehole, well or public tap. Use a watering system, plough regularly and use moderate amount of fertilizer. The soil composition should be loamy or sandy. Apply moderate organic fertilizer, PH level 8 and good irrigation.
Ideal weather for cultivation is humid, warm temperature of 24 to 34c. You can use either organic or regular fertilizer to provide nourishment for the plants. Organic fertilizer is costlier and better than regular ones.
This is essential if the plants primary purpose is use in pharmaceutical or herbal drugs. Try to maintain a good PH level and use pesticides to keep insects away. You can spray a malathion aqueous solution or parathion pesticide.
How to Prepare the Land
Plough the land and keep soil well drained. Test the PH level, introduce organic fertilizer and maintain clear ridges or furrows.
Maintain proportionate levels of phosphorus, potassium salts and sodium in the soil. Keep soil properly irrigated and plant watered. Log lands that retain water are harmful to the plant and retard their growth.
Propagating the Plants
The plant is planted through propagation and do not produce seeds. Select the offshoot aloe pups that have sprouting sets of leaves.
Then use a clean knife to separate the pups from the base of parent plant keeping intact the roots. Transfer the pup to a pot and grow separately till it attains near maturity then transplant them to the field.
Some farmers prefer digging out the rhizome and cut to 14 cm. The stem should have at least two nodes and planted in pot or container. Once the plant sprouts it is replanted in the field. The farmer could also use the root sucker method.
Different Verity of Aloe Vera
There is some species ideal for commercial farming. We have the Littorallis, Aloe Abyssinica and Chinensis. Popular highly productive hybrid species in India are AAL1, IEC 111271 and IEC 111269
A large scale production would require purchase of farming land. You need to add good irrigation system, watering and equipment. You might need to construct a shed for your tools, hire labour and purchase plant.
You can start the business with $1000 to $1500. Try target savings, borrow from friends and family. Alternately seek aid from interest free lending houses or approach a commercial bank in your locality. Many governments encourage farming and may provide discounted or free assistance to farmers.
The equipment you need is basic and easy to find. Use irrigation equipment, plough, chemical pesticides.
Others are wheelbarrow, rake, diggers and tractor for ploughing or tilling the land. You might need a borehole, equipment to measure PH level of soil.
Aloe Vera Farming Equipment
- Irrigation equipment
- Chemical pesticides
- Tractor for ploughing
- Equipment to measure PH level of soil
Harvesting the Plant
A one hectare land could produce 40 to 50 tons of aloe leaves. It takes approximately 9 to 10 months for thick flesh leaves to populate the land.
Harvesting is labour intensive so use machinery or hire casual workers. Remove only 3 to 4 leaves from each plant during harvesting this guarantees harvesting at least 3 times a year. Replant broken rhizomes and maintain the ridges.
The product is in high demand and marketing is easy. Sell to herbal medicine practitioners, cosmetic companies, plant processing companies.
Find local vendors, market women and private individuals. Use electronic and print publications to reach your customers. Advertise in newspapers, magazines and local publications.