TURMERIC: what you need to know
Often times, people tend to find it hard differentiating ‘turmeric’ from ‘ginger’. Inasmuch as these two plants look very similar, there exists distinctive difference between them. They both belong to the same family-Zingiberaceae (ginger family). Turmeric, however, stands out in this family of precious spice because of its intrinsic property of imparting a typical colour — Golden yellow and flavour due to the presence of the chemical Curcumin.
Turmeric has been in use dating back to 4000 BC. It is mentioned in Ayurveda during the Vedic age. About 70-100 species of Turmeric exists, with over 40 species indigenous to India, which points to its Indian origin.
Turmeric derives its name from the Latin word terra merita, meaning meritorious earth. In Nigeria, turmeric is cultivated in about 20 states and given different local names depending on the area. It is called atale pupa in Yoruba; gangamau in Hausa; Nwandumo in Ebonyi; Olu boboch in Enugu; cigar in Tiv; marine in Kaduna; Turi in Niger; onjonigho in Cross River.
- Turmeric is a perennial rhizomatous herb and belongs to the order of plants with one-seeded leaf (monocots).
- Turmeric is a crop native to the Indian sub-continent and Southeast Asia but can as well be cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world including Nigeria.
- It is a rhizomatous herb (that is, its harvestable yield lies in its rhizomes) which grows under diverse tropical conditions on a well-drained sandy or clay loamy soil
- Turmeric requires temperature ranging between 20-30°C and an annual rainfall of 1500mm.
- Curcuma longa is the highest yielding turmeric of commercial value.
- It is often cultivated for rhizomes for ground turmeric powder as a spice and food colouring agent.
- Turmeric is propagated by rhizomes
- Turmeric rhizomes are ready for harvest in about seven to nine months after planting
Unfortunately, in Nigeria, the cultivation of turmeric is not very popular. This is as a result of inadequate knowledge and advocacy of its production and cultivation requirements and little awareness about the huge market potential of turmeric. As at 2016, the global production of turmeric stood at about 1.1 – 1.15 million tons/year, and according to 2018 statistics by Conway, the global market of turmeric was valued at 3.16 billion US Dollars and forecasted to reach 5.65 billion US Dollars by 2027 (about 80% increase from current value).
Similarly, a recent article by ReportLinker reports that
“The global turmeric market is expected to reach 1.5 million metric tonnes by 2027. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for turmeric estimated at 1.1 million metric tonnes in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of 1.”
This report has further elicited interests from domestic and international markets and has made the demand for turmeric hit an upper trend and continues to rise because it is seen as an immunity-boosting product.
Definitely, turmeric has a huge market potential, with an increased demand locally and globally, it makes a big opportunity for anyone seeking to start any business venture capitalizing on any part of the Turmeric’s value chain.
No doubt, Turmeric has lots of uses including:
Unquestionably, turmeric is truly deserving of its cherished name – the golden spice given its wide range of use and potentials. It is therefore a MUST HAVE plant in every garden and kitchen as I prefer to call it the GOLDEN SPICE OF LIFE.
Plant a flower today 🌹
Next on the floral series:
Rose: what you need to know.