Growing amaranth commercially is a highly lucrative business opportunity for the entrepreneurs who want to start a farming business. Amaranth is also popular as amaranthus. The crop has a wide range of commercial value. Additionally, you can start this commercial farming business with small capital investment. Additionally, you can harvest the profit within a very short period of time.
The scientific name of amaranth is Amaranthus. And it belongs to Amaranthaceae family. Actually, it is an annual or short-lived perennial plant. Globally, you can find around 600 species. However, some of the varieties are good for leaf and some are perfect for grain production. In addition to that, in some countries, amaranths are grown as ornamental plant.
Currently, United States of Americal is the largest producer of Amaranthus. You can find the commercial farming in the upper Midwest and Great Plains, particularly western Nebraska, with widely scattered fields in other parts of the U.S. Some of the major amaranths growing countries are Africa, India, China, and Russia.
Economic Importance of Amaranth
Basically, amaranthus has the potential of a variety of uses. However, the grain accounts the major share in the industry. Actually, it is now an important ingredient in the food processing industry. Some of the major items are cereals, breakfast bars, crackers, cookies, and also amaranth flour and whole grain.
Amaranth is also high in fiber and low in saturated fat. The amaranth grain can be popped or flaked and works well in mixes with flours of other grains, including for extrusion processing. In addition to that, the flour is a great thickening ingredient for soup, stew, sauce etc.
Apart from grains, there are some varieties that are perfect for consumption as a green leaf. And it is great both for human and livestock diet. Nowadays, the organically grown amaranth fetches a high profit.
Different Regional Names of Amaranthus
- Chaulai, Ramdana, Lal sag (Hindi)
- Rajgiri (Kannada, Konkani, Sanskrit)
- Bustan Afroz, Mawal (Kashmiri)
- Rajgira, Shavrani math (Marathi)
- Taj Khurus (Punjabi)
- Gulkesh (Urdu)
- Punkirai (Tamil)
- Chilaka Thotakoora (Telegu)
- yan yang (Vietnam)
- Pak Hom (Laos)
- Kulitis (Philipines)
- Hiyuna (Japan)
- Thampala (Sri Lanka)
Health Benefits of Amaranth
- First of all, the most important aspect of this tiny grain is that it’s gluten-free.
- It’s higher in minerals, such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, and carotenoids than most vegetables.
- Additionally, it has high protein content. In one cup, 28.1 grams of protein compared to the 26.3 grams in oats and 13.1 grams in the rice.
- Also, it’s high in magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Nutritional Value of Amaranth
Amount Per 100 grams
- Total Fat 1.6 g 2%
- Sodium 6 mg 0%
- Potassium 135 mg 3%
- Total Carbohydrate 19 g 6%
- Dietary fiber 2.1 g 8%
- Protein 3.8 g 7%
- Calcium 4% Iron 11%
- Vitamin B-6 5% Magnesium 16%
Best Varieties for Growing Amaranth
Actually, you need to choose the variety according to the end product you want to grow. And some varieties are good for grain production and some are good for vegetable and leaf consumption.
Varieties for Grain Production
- Amaranthus caudatus
- Amaranthus cruentus
- Amaranthus hypochondriacus
- Amaranthus Retroflexus
Varieties for Leafy Greens
- Amaranthus cruentus
- Amaranthus Blitum
- Amaranthus Dubius
- Amaranthus tricolor
- Amaranthus Viridis
Profitable Indian Varieties of Amaranth
- Badi Chauli
- Chhoti Chauli
- Lal Sag
- CO-I (A. Dubius)
- CO-2 (A. tricolor)
- Pusa Kiran
- CO-3 (A.tritis)
- CO-4 (A. Hypochondriacus)
- Pusa Lal Chaulai
- Pusa Kirti
Agro-Climatic Condition for Amaranth Cultivation
Generally, the plant prefers warm weather. However, you can also grow amaranth in the temperate climate during summer. Actually, the plant has efficient photosynthetic abilities and responds best to full sunlight. So, the plant falls under the C4 type of photosynthesis. Additionally, the crop is resistant to drought thus it does not require as much moisture as other crops.
Suitable Soil for Amaranth Farming
Generally, growing amaranth is possible on all types of soil. However, the loam soil is most suitable for its cultivation. Fine seed bed necessary for this crop. And you can prepare the suitable bed by repeated ploughing.
Cost of Amaranth Production
Actually, the cost of production for amaranth is moderate. Costs are kept low particularly because fertilizer needs are minimal. Additionally, it needs low seeding rate. However, the planting and cultivation costs are equivalent to other grain crops since you need to use the same equipment. Additionally, you need to consider carefully the other cost related to the harvest and post-harvest phase. Specially, consider the distance of your farm from the market where you want to sell the product.
Growing Amaranth Basic Steps
Generally, you can grow the crop both in the summer and rainy season. And in the temperate zone, you can start plantation before 6 to 8 weeks of the last frost.
Seeds of this crop are very small. The seed is sown broadcast in sown or in flat beds after mixing those with fine soil fro well distribution.
You can transplant the seedlings after raising them in the nursery during the rainy season at a spacing of 45 cm from row to row 30 cm. from plant to plant. You need about one Kilogram seed for sowing one acre.
Generally, you can grow amaranth on the residual fertility of the previous crop grown in the field. However, according to the soil testing result, you may need to apply manure and fertilizer. In general, you can apply Urea @ 25 kg/ ha for vigorous growth.
Generally, the crop needs plenty of water for growth and high yield. In summer, the plant needs frequent irrigation. You can apply water twice or thrice in a week. However, in the monsoon, you must schedule the irrigation according to the moisture content of the soil.
You can intercrop amaranth with cowpea in an alternate row fashion. Also, you intercropping with cucumber is highly effective in amaranth cultivation.
The yield of green leaves is 90 to 100 q/ha and seed is 200 kg/ ha. However, the amaranth grain yield depends on the several aspects like variety, seed population, climatic condition etc. Overall, you can expect a more than 2000 kg/ha yield.
When to Harvest Amaranth
If you would like to harvest the amaranth grain, allow the plant to go to flower. Actually, you can start harvesting when the plants turn yellow or deep brown in color.
In conclusion, growing amaranth is a very lucrative opportunity for the farmers and entrepreneurs who have sufficient land. Within a short duration of time, you can expect a good return from this business.