Reap the ben­e­fits of plant­ing Turmeric

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Vin­cent A. Yusuf

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.

Soil

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.

Har­vest

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.

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