Turmeric belongs to ginger family Zingiberaceae, it is also known as Curcuma longo commonly referred to as the ‘queen of spices’. it can grow up to a height of 1m with many branches. It displays a wide range of characteristics such as; being pepperish in nature, good aroma, sharp taste and has yellow to orange colour. Turmeric is grown for medicinal and economical value. It is used in the preparation of cosmetics, drugs, dye, in spicing or colouring food etc. Turmeric farming is native to Asia, they use it in spicing their food, it is the a major ingredient in their food.
For now India is the highest producers of turmeric in the world, other countries that produces turmeric in large quantities are China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Jamaica, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Mozambique and Pakistan. Turmeric farming just like ginger is very lucrative, it can be grown in containers, field and hydroponic.
HOW TO START TURMERIC FARMING
Turmeric is a tropical herb that can also be grown in the sub-tropical zone. It needs humid climate and grows best in an opened field. The ideal soil for planting turmeric is a friable sandy loam soil rich in organic matter. Cultivation can be done from May-June and July August depending on the variety and location.
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The required temperature is between 20-30°C and 1500mm of water per annum. It is a shade loving plant and can be grown through irrigation.
Use tractor/harrow to mechanized the land if it is too hard or cutlass and spade for a small land space. Clear the land and prepare it for farming. The land can be covered with compost or animal dung to increase the fertility of the soil. Make beds of 15cm in height and 1m in width. The spacing between beds should be 50cm.
Use healthy and high yielding varieties for the turmeric farming. The mother rhizome and the finger can be sown. Cut the finger rhizome into pieces between 4-5cm long, split the mother rhizome into two with at least one bud in each, it can be planted whole.
Use hoe to dig a shallow pit on top of the ridge or bed, drop rhizome inside and cover with soil. Plant them in rows with 25cm-30cm spacing. Turmeric germinates within 4-5 weeks after planting.
INTER CROPPING IN TURMERIC FARMING
Turmeric can be inter crop with maize, vegetables, onions, millet or as a subsidiary to ginger. They can be planted under light shade with economic trees at the early stage of the crop. Example of such crops are moringa, oil tree etc.
It should be done early and follow-up carefully. Weeding can be done 2-3 times before harvest.
FERTILIZATION IN TURMERIC FARMING
They are heavy feeders and just like ginger should be fed with enough manure to allow a healthy harvest. Organic manure is very much encouraged such as cow dung, pig dung etc.
Shoot borer is a pest that attacks turmeric, cut the shoot open, remove the larva and destroy. Leaf blotch and leaf spot can be controlled by Bordeaux mixture of 1%. For rhizome rot apply Trichoderma during planting.
IRRIGATION IN TURMERIC FARMING
Turmeric needs adequate water to grow well. Irrigate them lightly during raining season and heavily during dry season. Moisture stress affects the growth and development of the plant especially during rhizome bulking stage.
- Red streaked
- Local turmeric
- China scented
- Improved erode
Turmeric matures between 7-9 months depending on the variety. When it is ready for harvest the leaves turn yellow and start drying up. Use sharp object to cut the leaves close to the ground and then you use spade to lift the rhizome from the soil. Gather the rhizomes, heap them in one place, clean, wash and dry. Separate the mother and finger rhizome before you start curing process.
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The rhizome finger are to be sold while the mother rhizome is preserved for next planting. Use boiled water to wash the rhizomes before drying them under sun to destroy the viability of the fresh rhizomes and to get rid of the raw odour.
Drying time should be reduced in other to coat the starch for rhizome hardening and to make the turmeric to come out in uniformity. Turmeric yield is between 8-10 tonnes in an acre of land.
To store turmeric for the next planting season; heap them under a tree where there is shade. Use leaves to cover them you can use the leaves you cut off from the turmeric plant before harvesting.
Another way is to dig a pit for turmeric and then cover them with sawdust or wooden plank; allow few holes for air circulation.
Smoothen and polish the rhizomes to improve the appearance for good market. Sell them directly to market traders, hotels, Pharmaceutical Companies, Food Companies etc. You can add value to it by processing them to powder for sale.
IMPORTANCE OF TURMERIC
- For wood healing: Turmeric is a natural antiseptic, anti bacterial agent that can be used as a disinfectant.
- Reduces cholesterol level: using turmeric for food seasoning can help in the reduction of serum cholesterol levels.
- Regulates blood sugar level: it helps in moderating insulin level as such can be said to treat diabetes
- Relieves arthritis just like in ginger, the anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric is good in treating Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- It prevents Alzheimer’s disease: turmeric supports all brain health by helping in the removal of plague-build-up in the brain and enhancing the flow of oxygen which can prevent or slow down the activities of Alzheimer’s disease.
- For cancer prevention: turmeric helps in the prevention of prostrate cancer and can also destroy cancerous cells. It has properties that protects against radiation (induced tumors).
HOW TO PREPARE TURMERIC POWDER
Boil the rhizomes 40-45 minutes and dry them in hot sun or oven, then grind them into powder. Over cooking will spoil the colour while under cooking will make the dried turmeric brittle. Boiling of turmeric should be done within 2-3 days after harvest. It takes about 15 days for the rhizome to dry completely.
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