Turmeric has been used in India for more than 5000 years now. Initially, it was cultivated as a dye as its’ vivid yellow color works brilliantly as a coloring agent. Then its highly developed uses came to know and people started using it for cosmetic and beautification purposes and eventually as a medicine. Later it became popular as a spice. Originating in India turmeric had reached China by 700 A.D, East Africa by 800 A.D and West Africa by 1200 A.D. Then it had begun to become popular all through the world. It is known that the Arab traders had carried turmeric with them to Europe in the 13th century.
Products and Uses
Turmeric is available in the market as in a whole dried form or in a powdered form. It is also used as an ingredient in the preparation of curry mixtures. Oils and oleoresins are extracted from turmeric which is mainly used as a coloring and flavoring agent in the food industry.
Turmeric is mainly used as a flavoring and coloring agent in the food industry. It is also used as a coloring in textiles and preparation of specific paints. In Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine turmeric is a common ingredient. In India turmeric is largely used as a disinfectant in the day to day life and in religious ceremonies.
Major Growing Areas
Turmeric is grown in wet and intermediate zones of Sri Lanka as a mono-crop and an intercrop under coconut. Major growing districts are Kurunegala, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy Matale and Ampara districts.
Though there are a number of locally grown varieties they are not specially identified. There are imported varieties namely, Gunter, Puna and Madurasi Majal. and they have been mixed with local varieties.
Soils and Climatic needs
Many soil types are suitable. However well-drained sandy clay loam soils rich with organic matter and sandy loam are the most suitable soil types. Poorly drained rocky or clay type soils are not suitable.
Climate Altitude: up to 1500 m
Rainfall: For the successful growth, annual rainfall should be 1500mm or high. However, turmeric can be grown in the dry zone under irrigation.
Temperature: 20 ºC – 35º C
pH – 5.5 – 6.5
Shade: Medium shade is most suitable. High shade declines the yield. Can grow successfully as an intercrop with coconut and banana.
Season: Main season- March April
Minor season – September-October (Mainly in dry area)
There are two types of rhizomes as mother rhizomes and finger rhizomes. Matured finger rhizomes are the most suitable planting material. A piece of the rhizome should be 30-50g in weight and be with 1-2 buds. Planting material should be disease free and selected from a high yielding cultivation. Before planting, rhizomes should be immersed in a fungicide (Mancozeb 30g/10L of water) for about 5 minutes to avoid fungal growth during planting. Planting material requirement is 1500-2000kg/ha.
Turmeric is planted in raised beds or ridges. The field should be ploughed up to 35-40cm in depth and tilling soil is done. Beds are 4ft in width and recommended length is 10ft and it is varying with the space available. However, when intercropped with coconut width and length can be changed according to the available space. The height of the bed is about 20cm and drains, with 30cm in depth, should be prepared in between beds.
Spacing – between rows – 30cm
between plants – 30cm
03 or 04 rows per bed
Planting depth – 5-7.5cm
Planting should be done after the rain. If no adequate moisture beds should be irrigated.
To protect moisture and to keep weeds under arrest mulching should be done immediately after planting. Paddy husk, coir dust, dry leaves or Gliricidea leaves are most suitable mulching materials.