General Information :
Annatto is a small but fairly fast-growing evergreen shrub or small tree growing from 2 - 8 meters tall.
Distributed in tropical parts of India
Habitat : Tropical and Deciduous forest.
Soil : Almost all soil types, with a preference for well-drained, neutral and slightly alkaline soils
Altitude :Up to 2000 m (MSL)
Rainfall :1250-2000 mm
Temperature : 20-26 deg C
Terrain : Plain /gentle slopes
Tree Characteristics :
- Sensitive to frost and moderately drought resistant
Habit : Evergreen tree
Natural Regeneration :
- Natural regeneration by seeds under favorable conditions.
Artificial Regeneration :
- Propagated by Nursery raised seedlings and vegetative cuttings.
Seed collection and Storage :
- The plant is usually grown from seed taken from freshly gathered ripe pods, which germinate better than dry ones.
- Mature seeds, taken directly from fresh fruits,
- Germinate readily in 7 - 10 days under moist condition.
Seed Treatment :
- Cold water soaking for 24 hours.
Nursery Technique :
- Best time for raising the nursery is during April-May months.
- The plant can be propagated by seeds or through stem cuttings.
- Seedlings are raised in polythene bags containing a mixture of soil, sand and FYM (2:1:1)
- Seeds germinate in about 8-10 days
- Seedlings are transplanted when they are 20 cm tall.
Plantation technique :
- Pits of size 30 cm3 are dug in early March at a spacing of 4.5 m x 4.5 m.
- They are filled with a mixture of soil and compost before the onset of monsoon.
- One year old healthy seedlings are planted in the main field at the onset of rain
Care & Disease Control :
- Pits are watered immediately after planting.
- Regular irrigation depending on the climate is necessary for good growth and yield of the crop.
- For proper growth and survival it is necessary to give one or two waterings after planting. This is specifically required in arid regions.
- Irrigation after planting is not a prerequisite in areas having sufficient soil moisture and precipitation.
- Higher survival rate and better rate of growth is reported when soil and water conservation measures are also adopted.
Recommended Harvest :
- 8 to 10 years
- A three year old plant on an average may yield about 0.5 to 1.0 kg of seeds per tree per year.
- The maximum yield is obtained from 4 to 8 years age plantation.
- Seed yield may be around 250 kg to 500 kg per hectare per year from 4 year old plantation.
- B. orellana has been successfully cultivated with young citrus groves.
Major uses :
- The extract from the pigment coating the seeds yields a harmless, non-carcinogenic dye, used as colorings for food, especially dairy products.
- This dye was also used by Amerindians as war paint and was used in dying wool, cotton and silk, but the color rapidly fades when exposed to light and air.
- The dye obtained from the seed is used in manufacturing cosmetics.
Market details :
- Bixa dye cost approximately Rs.1000 - 1500/Kg*
*Subject to change according to market demands