Farming Stevia

San Antonio TX. The Global Stevia Institute (GSI)says that stevia is a sustainable crop because its farming, extraction and purification require less water, land, and energy than other naturally sourced sweet ingredients.

Because the leaf is 200-350 times sweeter than sugar, stevia only needs 1/5th of the land to provide the same amount of sweetness as other natural sweeteners, made from sugar cane or corn, would do in larger land extensions. Less land means less water and less energy. This means less environmental impact. For example in Kenya, stevia is typically grown only on a third of the land, with the rest of the land being devoted to other crops.

According to GSIstevia farming provides the opportunity to diversify crops that the farmer relies on for income. It has become an attractive way to expand job opportunities and wages in many countries.

The GSI says that if you have a green thumb you can grow stevia right in your own garden. It will grow just like any other plant during the warm season.  Stevia is a tender perennial that loves sun and dies back in a freeze. However, the roots usually survive the winter and will come back in the spring.

Plant stevia leaving about 18 inches of room for each plant, in a loose, loamy, well-drained soil to protect roots from rotting. Stevia does not have insect problems since only few insects bother the plant due to its sweetness. Feed your stevia with compost. It will grow 1 to 3 feet in height, depending on how warm the weather is.

During the fall, stevia bears small white flowers and stretches out, offering fewer good leaves for harvest. It’s recommendable to trim off the blooms to keep the plant producing leaves as long as possible.

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SVETIA® Calorie – Free Sweetener is made with cane sugar and stevia extract. One packet of SVETIA® contains only one gram of carbohydrates. People with diabetes are advised to check with their registered dietitian or physician.

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