Cultivation of betel pepper
India has the largest area under betel pepper cultivation. It grows on about 400,000 hectares of land mainly in Orissa, Tamil Nadu.
|Image: Cultivation of betel vine in Orissa, India.|
Bangladesh is the second largest grower on about 13000 hectares. It tends to be grown by smallholders by training the plants up shade trees. Year round the leaves are picked by hand when they are young and tender.
It is an old tradition in India to keep the right thumbnail long so that it can be used for removing the central vein from the leaf when preparing paan. Even today, in some areas, the main vein of the leaf is removed.