Number of farmers from Kerala estimated to be engaged in ginger cultivation in neighbouring Karnataka. The farmers, referred to as "inchikkarans" by locals, practice reverse agricultural migration. They seasonally migrate to different regions in Karnataka, with each taking about 25 to 250 acres of land on lease every year for ginger cultivation. Nominal lease rates, lower wages of farm workers, rich soil, availability of large tracts of land and attractive agricultural policies have contributed to this flight of ginger farmers from Kerala to Karnataka and now other states year after year.
Land leased by these farmers in Karnataka in 2020. This area under ginger cultivation has increased nearly threefold this season owing to good prices in the past two years. An average yield of ginger rhizomes from an acre is 18 to 20 tonnes, but it declined to 10 to 12 tonnes this season, as many farmers started cultivation two months later owing to the pandemic according to Navrang Mohanan, General Secretary, All India Ginger Growers Association.
Increase in area of land that Kerala farmers plan to lease during 2019 and 2020. While most cultivation from early 2000s was centred around Chamarajanagar, Shivamogga, Mysuru, Hassan, Kodagu in Karnataka, farmers with high-risk appetite are venturing to Maharashtra, Goa and Chhattisgarh.