Ginger is a spice, which is the rhizome, or underground stem of a flowering plant belonging to the family ‘Zingiberaceae’. It is scientifically known as ‘Zingiber officinale’ and is widely used throughout the world mainly for culinary and medicinal purposes.
Ginger is one of the main flavourings used in Asian cuisines in ground or sliced forms. It is also used as a folk medicine to cure various digestive disorders.
The spice is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and propagated by Austronesian peoples throughout the Indo-Pacific region, mainly-Australia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
In India, ginger was grown primarily in the Southern states during the ancient spice trade and it was one of the first spices exported from Asia to Europe and used by ancient Greeks and Romans.
Ginger is usually planted from March to April with the arrival of monsoon. Humid climates with sufficient sunlight are ideal for the ginger plants and they flourish in well-drained clay loam, sandy loam and laterite loam soils.
India contributes more than 50% to the total global production of ginger and is the largest producer and consumer of it in the world. The other major producers are China, Nepal, and Thailand.
The largest exporter of ginger is China followed by Thailand, India, Peru and Netherlands and the US is the largest importer of ginger followed by Japan, Netherlands, Pakistan and Germany.
In India, Assam is the largest producer of ginger, and other states like Karnataka, Meghalaya, Kerala, Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal together contribute nearly 65% to the total ginger production in the country.
The main trading markets of ginger in India:
Assam (Langku, Berpeta, Darrang, Kamrup and Sonitpur)
Kerala (Wayanad, Idukki, Palakkadu and Alleppey)
Meghalaya (West Garo hills, East Garo hills,)
Arunachal Pradesh (Dumro, Pangin and Temsing)
Orissa (Kondhamal, Dharamgarh and Koraput)
Names of ginger in different Indian languages:
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