Are you aware that Garlic (Allium sativum) is second most widely used amongst cultivated Alliums after onion? Although Its pungent smell could be very unpleasant when perceived fresh but when added to meals gives the meal a delightful fragrance and that is why Garlic is widely recognized today as a health enhancing supplement.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a spice crop belonging to the family Alliaceae along with onion (A. cepa. L), leek (A. ameloprisum L.), chives (A. schoenoprasum L), and shallot (A. asaclincum).
It is the second most widely used amongst cultivated Alliums after onions (Allium cepa). The crop consists of an underground bulb and vegetative shoot which consist of leaves and flower. They are 40 cm tall when fully grown.
Garlic is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and Chinese onion. It is native to Central Asia and northeastern Iran and has long been a common seasoning worldwide, with a history of several thousand years of human consumption and use.
Garlic is consumed in every home and use in processing industry has a fairly constant market demand. Bulbs are easily stored for 5-6 months after harvest which favors long marketing season.
Garlic is used in varied food preparations like chutneys, pickles, curry powders, curried vegetables, meat and meat product preparations, tomato ketchup, etc.,
The raw garlic is also used in second generation products like garlic powder, garlic salt, garlic vinegar, garlic cheese croutons, garlic potato chips, garlic bread etc.
It has also been extensively used as a popular remedy for various ailments and psychological disorders since vedic period.
Sourcing Garlic (Allium sativum)
In Nigeria for instance, Garlic is grown commercially in FADAMA regions which includes Northern states like Kano, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa, Bauchi, Katsina and Zamfara States.
You can also source within your location regardless of your country of residence by asking already existing garlic producing farmers or any agricultural farm within your location.
Its production is mainly around the savannah ecological zone where all factors of production are favorable.
The national production figure for garlic is 150,000 metric tonnes. Sokoto State produces the highest quantity.
Planting Garlic Season
Garlic is planted under irrigation during dry season between the months of November to March
Garlic is a common flavoring used in cooking. It serves as a food additive which prevents food poisoning.
It is used as a raw material in pharmaceutical industries. It is also used to produce supplements which have enteric coatings.
The local price of garlic ranges from about N170,000 to N210,000/MT, depending on the location of purchase and the period during its season.
The United States is the world’s largest import market for fresh garlic, followed closely by Indonesia, France, Germany, Australia and Brazil.
Garlic bulbs are harvested at optimum maturity period when the plants are eighteen (18) weeks old that is, four to five weeks after planting.
Garlic bulbs are stored individually with the tops removed. The bulbs are stored in an uncovered or loosely covered container in a cool, dry, dark place. The flavor will increase as the bulbs are dried.
Garlic can be stored in jute sacks, preferably in a mud house with thatched roof.
The processing operations of Garlic particularly includes; Garlic grading, bulb breaking, clove separation, size reduction, peeling, clove flaking, dehydration, blending, packaging, storage, grinding etc.
It’s processing requires special skill and care, because it’s essential volatile oil is concentrated in epidermal cell, which is mainly responsible for its characteristic aroma.
The following products may be prepared from the processing of Garlic:
a. Garlic Flex
b. Garlic Powder
c. Garlic Tablet
d. Garlic Paste
e. Garlic Pickles
f. Garlic cloves
g. Garlic Digestive Churn etc.
The market for the Nigerian garlic is widely spread and is the bulk of households, restaurants, eateries, caterers, and clubs use it regularly. The demand for the processed products is increasing day by day due to its convenience to handle and use. There are good export prospects as well.
Read Also: Reasons why Onions is Good for You
Health Benefits of Garlic
Garlic improves and helps human health in many ways, which include but not limited to;
- It improves cholesterol levels, this invariably lowers the risk of heart disease
- It’s used in managing and controlling blood pressure
- It combats sickness like the common cold and flu
- It prevents Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia
- It helps in longevity
- It helps detoxify heavy metals in the body
- It improves bone health
- It fights against bacteria and parasites
- It prevents cancer
- Used in skin care and hair
Read Also: Comprehensive Guide to Dry Beans Production