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Ginger—Specialty Crop Profile
Ginger is used throughout the world as a spice or fresh herb in cooking and a variety of other value-added products including flavoring in candies, beverages, liqueurs, ice cream, baked goods, curry powder blends, sauces, and various condiments. Ginger is also used in traditional medicine to treat several ailments including nausea, motion sickness, migraine, dyspepsia, and to reduce flatulence and colic. Young rhizomes that are harvested early are also used in pickles and confectionery.
Ginger is well adapted for production levels ranging from a few plants grown in a kitchen garden to small-scale production. Because it is a labor intensive crop, many small farmers may only be able to handle small-size plots for ginger production, ranging from a few 30 m long rows to 0.25 ha plots. Some farmers may be able to grow small plantings of ginger for sale to local restaurants, hotels, or for direct sale to consumers in the local farmers’ market. Small farmers may also explore the possibility of forming a cooperative for sale of bulk volumes through a wholesaler or local distributor. For small farmers, it is always a good idea to identify potential buyers prior to planting a crop and to start with small plots. As they gain more experience and develop better relationships with their buyers, the planting areas can be expanded.
Value added ginger products increase market opportunity for farmers. A certified community kitchen can be used to prepare a range of processed ginger products. Small-scale facilities may be amenable to the production of several processed products such as pickled, dehydrated, or candied ginger, instant tea, cookies, and wine (made from ginger peels).
Ginger is a popular garden and commercial crop grown and consumed on many islands of the Pacific. Commonly used as a spice in home cooking, it also is in high demand by local restaurants and health food stores, with organically grown ginger becoming increasingly popular. Certified organic ginger may be a new local and export market expansion opportunity for local ginger growers.
In 2007 Hawai‘i produced about 1.3 million kg, which was less than 50% of the volume produced in 2003. Reported ginger yields in Hawai‘i for 2007 were about 35 MT/ha. Total Hawai‘i production has decreased over the past few years because of drought, increased disease pressure, and because of greater competition from China.
Original source of this article
This article is excerpted by permission of the publisher from
Valenzuela, H. 2011. Ginger (Zingiber officinale). In: Elevitch, C.R. (ed.). Specialty Crops for Pacific Island Agroforestry. Permanent Agriculture Resources (PAR), Holualoa, Hawai‘i. © Permanent Agriculture Resources.