Reap the benefits of planting Turmeric
Nigerian farmers give less attention to turmeric cultivation. But many experts say the root crop which is described as the ‘spice of life’ has huge potentials for local industries and exports.
The world production level for turmeric is between 11-16 tons annually and out of these production figures, India alone accounts for over 78% of the annual production for turmeric. India is followed by China, and then Myanmar in Asia. Nigeria is the fourth largest producer of turmeric with about 3% of the global annual production.
Uses of turmeric
Turmeric contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal properties. Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow colour. Turmeric is used in the dyeing industry to dye clothes and fabrics. It is used to impact colour on our food. It is used as spices such as, thyme, curry and so on.
How to cultivate turmeric
In Nigeria, turmeric is grown both under rain-fed and irrigated conditions. Turmeric also requires deep soil tilth and heavy manuring for high yields.
After selecting suitable cultivation site, beds of convenient length and width are prepared based on the topography of the land. Soils for turmeric cultivation should be rich and friable with plenty of organic matter. Though turmeric is suited for a number of soil types, but loams and sandy loam soils are most preferable.
Flat land with little or no slope is recommended. Bed preparation can be by use of a tractor or it can be manually done using a spade or a hoe.
When to plant
Planting is done mostly on raised beds when the rains must have stabilized i.e. May–June. Planting distance of 30 cm x 50 cm is often adopted for turmeric planting.
Turmeric can also be grown in intercrop with other crops such as maize, okra, pepper and mung bean.
Advice for farmers
For good crop yield and maximum farmer economic return, it is advisable to: (1) mulch turmeric plot after planting and (2) fertilize turmeric plot using a combination of inorganic fertilizer like NPK and organic fertilizer such as poultry manure or cow dung manure.
Turmeric readiness for harvest is indicated by the drying of the plant and stem, approximately 7 to 10 months after planting, depending on cultivar, soil and growing conditions.