Stevia cultivation, production and processing
The Stevia Plant from Botanical Viewpoint
The Latin name of the stevia plant is Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni. It belongs to the composite family (Asteraceae) like sunflowers. It loves it warm and sunny with lots of rain and is perennial only in frost-free areas. Propagation usually takes place through the propagation of cuttings, plants from in vitro cultivation and also through seeds.
The cultivation of Stevia
The main growing areas are Brazil, China, Paraguay and the USA. Strong demand has led to stevia being grown in more and more countries. In Europe, for example in Portugal and Spain, stevia is also cultivated in small agricultural cooperatives.
Unlike other bulk agricultural products such as corn and cereals, stevia is often grown on smaller farmland and contributes to biodiversity. This enables the grower to generate an additional income to the usual commercial cultivation of the mass products. The cultivation of stevia is interesting for farmers in many ways, as the plant requires little water and can be harvested several times a year under ideal growing conditions.