Turmeric, a yellow spice with a warm and mellow flavor is a spice derived from a rhizome (a type of root) native to India and Southeast Asia, also known as the ‘Indian Saffron’. It is commonly known as Haldi in Hindi and scientifically called as Curcuma longa L
Turmeric is used as a condiment, dye, drug and cosmetic in addition to its use in religious ceremonies. The use of turmeric dates back nearly 4000 years, to the Vedic culture in India, when turmeric was the principal spice and also of religious significance .
Turmeric belongs to, Zingiberaceae family. This tropical herb plant is usually 3 to 5 feet in height having flowers of dull yellow color and is largely cultivated in the parts of Southeast Asia. Turmeric as spice is deep yellow in color having a pungent flavor. To convert it into a powdered form, the rootstalk is boiled, dried, cleaned and polished and then powdered

Products and Uses:
Dried rhizome
Turmeric powder
Curry powder
Medicinal and biological properties of turmeric .

Climate and cultivation

Turmeric is a plant that is cultivated and propagated with the help of its rootstalk. The plant is perennial having bright green leaves and yellow conical flowers. It needs hot and humid climate to prosper and it generally grows on light black or red soils that are clayey in nature. That is why the rootstalk is sown in around the spring season.

Turmeric is available in two seasons in India i.e. from February to May and from August to October. The harvesting of this plant is done when the leaves of this plant start turning yellowish after 7 to 10 months of plantation. The plant is harvested by digging the rootstalks up. It is grown from the sea level to 1200 meters above mean sea level.

Major varieties

A number of varieties are available in the country and are known mostly by name of locality where they are cultivated. Some of the popular cultivars are Duggirala, Tekkurpet, Sugandham, Amalapuram, Erode local, Alleppey, Muvattupuzha, Lakadong. There are two dominant types of turmeric found on the world market: ' Madras', and 'Alleppey', both named after the regions of production in India. The orange-yellow flesh Alleppey turmeric is predominantly imported by the United States, where users prefer it as a spice and a food colorant. The Madras turmeric is preferred by the British and Middle Eastern markets for its more intense, brighter and lighter yellow color, better suited for the mustard paste and curry powder or paste used in oriental dishes.

The important varieties used in India are: 'Alleppey Finger' (Kerala) and 'Erode and Salem turmeric' (Tamil Nadu), 'Rajapore' and 'Sangli turmeric' ( Maharashtra) and 'Nizamabad Bulb' (Andhra Pradesh). In Tamil Nadu, the important varieties cultivated are Erode local, BSR-1, PTS-10, Roma, Suguna, Sudarsana and Salem local. Among these varieties, 70-75% is occupied by the local varieties

Global Scenario

India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of turmeric. India wholly dominates the world production scenario contributing to approximately 75% of the world’s total production producing 600,000 tons of turmeric annually. It also holds the top position in the list of world’s leading exporters of turmeric. Asian countries usually consume a large share of their own produce and India stands at top in this case also.

Other producers in Asia include Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, China, Burma ( Myanmar), and Indonesia. Turmeric is also produced in the Caribbean and Latin America: Jamaica, Haiti, Costa Rica, Peru, and Brazil.

Major importers are the Middle East and North African countries, Iran, Japan and Sri Lanka. These importing countries represent 75% of the turmeric world trade, and are mostly supplied by the Asian producing countries. Europe and North America represent the remaining 15%, and are supplied by India and Central and Latin American countries. Taiwan exports mostly to Japan. The United States imports of turmeric come from India at 97%, and the rest is supplied by the islands of the Pacific, and Thailand. The total yearly consumption of Turmeric all around the globe is approximately 38 Lakh bags to 40 Lakh bags depending on the rates.

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