Lotus is an aquatic plant that have food and medicinal uses, as well as ornamental uses. It has been widely produced and consumed by people in China and other Asian countries, where lotus production represents an industry of over $1 billion value, employing millions of people. Asian immigrants really enjoy lotus tubes and foods made from it, but could not buy them locally at all. Occasional supply from foreign imports is not fresh and of low quality. With the Asian population approaching 10,000 in Lexington alone, the need for lotus tube is currently an unmet consumer need in Kentucky. Due to the decline in tobacco production, Kentucky farmers are in urgent need of alternative crops to generate income and sustain their farms.
In the past two years, I have successfully grown lotus in the ponds on my farm, suggesting lotus can be cultivated under the climate conditions of Kentucky.
I propose on-farm experiments to test the effect of fertilization rates on lotus production and the effects of removing flowers at different stages on the production of lotus tube. The results will provide guidance to farmers who are interested in lotus production.
Project objectives from proposal:
On-farm experiments to test the effect of fertilization rates on lotus production in year 1, and the effects of removing flowers at different stages on the production of lotus tube in year 2.
I will also test market the lotus tubes harvested to increase consumer interest and expand the market for lotus tubes.