Botanical name: Papaver somniferum
commonly name:opium poppy or breadseed poppy
The plant is not indigenous to the country and was imported from abroad. Papaver somniferum is originally a native of the warmer parts of western Asia from where it was taken to Greece. From Asia Minor the Arabs traders took it to the Far Eastern countries, including India and China.
There can be little doubt that the medicinal poppy is a native of Western Asia but it is cultivated at the present time not only in the original area of distribution but also in India, Iran, Turkey and Europe.
Climate and Soil
Poppy prefers moderately cool weather and open sunny location; severely cold spell, frost, dull cloudy weather, high winds and very heavy rainfall during the lancing period adversely affect the yield.The crop is grown on well-drained, fertile, clayey loam to rich sandy – loam soils.Well – drained loam and sandy-loam soils are best for its cultivation.Soil having pH of 7 are best for its cultivation.Soil should also have adequate quantities of organic matter and plant nutrients.
Telia, Haryali, Safed Dhanti or Kantha Bhbhutia, Katila, Hariyali, Dhandhan Baha, Chiroh, Kali Dadi or Kali Dandi, chaura Karia, Damia, Mororia, Katila, dhadhua and Sahabnia etc.
Land is prepared to a fine tilth to a depth of 20-25 during september and the fields are laid out into beds of convenient size.Twenty five to thirty seven cartloads of farmyard manure are mixed with the soil during the preparation of land, penning of sheep or goats is preferred.There should be enough moisture in the soil for seed germination.If sufficient moisture is not available, give a presowing irrigation for obtaining good germination.
Seed and sowing
The seed rate is 2.5-3.5 kg/ha.The seeds are minute weighing 0.25-0.5 g/100.They are mixed with sand and sown thinly in rows 30 cm apart during mid-October till early November.The rows are covered with a thin layer of soil and are given a light irrigation, followed by an other irrigation after 8-10 days when the seeds atart germination.Seed treatment with 1.0% Agrosan GN protect it from seed borne diseases.
The crop is given about 15 irrigations in all, depending upon the structure of soil and the variety sown, moisture deficiency at the time of capsule formation affects the yield adversely.
Manure and fertilisers
The poppy crop needs a heavy nutrients supply and 50 kg N/ha is applied during the preparation of land and another application of an equal quantity is given as top dressing in two split doses, when the crop is 1 month old and at the time of flag 2 leaf stage.
Lancing is done longitudinally in bright sunlight and the latex (crude opium) which oozes from the wounds dries during the following night and is scraped with th4 sharp kitchen-knife in the early hours of the succeeding morning.Lancing is performed in the afternoon with a special knife, capable of making 4 incisions at a time, each at about 1/12th cm apart.Each capsule is lanced for 4-6 times.A deep incision causes the collection of the latex inside the capsule and spoils the seeds.The crude opium is stored in earther-pots and dried under the sun to obtain the raw opium of a uniform consistency.The entire produce goes to the Excise and Narcotics Department which pays attention to its consistency and purity.
The average yield of raw opium varies from 13 to 33 kg/ha tough much higher yields are recorded under good agronomic practices.The crop also yields 3-4 quintals of seed/ha.The seed scontain 50% of a golden yellow fatty oil which is devoid of narcotic properties.