It is perhaps not known to many that India is the world’s largest producer of turmeric with the state of Telangana ranking first in area under cultivation and production. The turmeric belt of Telangana comprises of the districts of Nizamabad, Nirmal and Jagtial.
It is estimated that over 50,000 hectares of land are under turmeric cultivation in these three districts with an average annual production of over 2 lakh MT and average productivity of over 5 MT per hectare. The Nizamabad turmeric in particular is exported to USA, Iran, UAE, Malaysia and EU.
Small and marginal farmers grow both native and hybrid varieties of turmeric to cater to the domestic and international demands. Rajendra Sonia, Rajendra Sonali, Rajapuri, PTS – 10 and ACC – 849 are some of the popular varieties grown in this district. There are four grades of turmeric available here namely Nizam quality, Double polish finger, Gattah (unpolished) and Gattah (double polished).
The reason that the Nizambad turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is preferred over other varieties grown across the country is its high curcumin content (average is 5 percent) and oleoresin content (average is 14 – 16 percent).
Nizamabad turmeric is widely used in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industry because of its characteristic flavour and fragrance.
Records state that processed turmeric fetches a higher price than raw turmeric and so therefore, the need of the hour is to set up processing plants complete with slicers, dryers, grinders, storage and packaging facilities to ensure that the farmers increase their income.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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