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Indian Turmeric Trade Unfazed by Sri Lankan Ban

26 Nov 2020 5:45 pm
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Mumbai Commodities Control - Even as neighbouring Sri Lanka has banned imports of Indian turmeric, the trade here seems to be unfazed. The Sri Lankan government banned turmeric imports in December 2019 to encourage local production of the spice crop and to protect small and medium-size businesses.

A section of traders said there won’t be much impact as Indian production is seen lower this year and the cost-conscious Lankan market prefers only cheaper varieties.

To meet its annual domestic demand estimated at 7,000 tonnes, Sri Lanka imports nearly 5,000 tonnes of turmeric from India.

India produced 9.39 lakh tonnes in 2019-20, down from the 9.5 lakh tonnes it produced the previous year, according to Spices Board data. Also, both domestic and export demand is on the rise thanks to the immunity booster tag attached to the spice and Indian exporters have got robust orders from West Asia, the US, the EU and even Bangladesh.

But there seems to be no relief for the consignments that are already stuck in Colombo Port. Even as scores of turmeric shipments remain stalled, it is now being alleged that those containers that had been given NOC by Customs officials were also not allowed to be wheeled out.

In Total, 56 turmeric containers from India are stalled at Colombo Port. Though the island-nation has banned other spices, including pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and cardamom, the turmeric ban is more impactful.

Rajamanickkam, a turmeric trader at Erode, said the traders have made representations to the Central government to arrange for the export of stalled turmeric to some other countries or make Sri Lanka accept the consignments.

Sathyamurthy, Secretary, Erode Turmeric Merchants and Godown Owners Association, said, “Because of the ban by Sri Lanka, a minimum of Rs 50 crore worth turmeric could not be exported from Erode.”

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