Turmeric is an important spice which besides its use in fooding is also utilsed in making dye and medicines. Its plant is a genus of South East Asia. It requires warm moist climate and well drained fertile clayey loam, sandy loam, medium black or red soils. The crop is grown from sea level to the height of 1216 m along the hill slopes.
It is sown between April and August and harvested between January and April. Turmeric is of two varieties: (i) bulb turmeric, and (ii) finger turmeric. The latter variety is of good quality and preferred.
The harvested rhizomes are separated into smaller pieces. These are boiled and sun- dried to prepare turmeric for the market. The average per hectare yield of turmeric was 40.88 quintal in 2000-01 (cf.’27.6 quintal/ha in 1950-51).
Area and Production
India is an important producer of turmeric in the world. The crop occupied l .60 lakh hectares of land yielding 6.54 lakh tones (Table 11.XVI) of turmeric 2000-01. Its main area of cultivation is concentrated along the East Coast of the country. The states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Orissa together contribute 75.00 per cent of the total area and 86 per cent of the total production of turmeric in the country (Table 1 l.XVII).
Andhra Pradesh alone produces 52.91 per cent of the total output of turmeric in the country (area being 48.00% of the country). Here bulk of the production comes from Guntur, Cuddapah, Krishna,
East and West Godavari districts. Similarly Salem, Coimbatore and Tiruchchirappalli districts in Tamil Nadu; Ganjam, Phulbani and Koraput districts of Orissa; West Bengal; Mysore and Belgaum districts in Karnataka; Thane, Sangli, Satara, Parbhani and Kolhapurdistricts in Maharashtra; Assam; Kozhikode district in Kerala; Gujarat; Tripura; Bihar; Meghalaya (Khasi and Jaintia hills); Mizoram; and Uttar Pradesh (Deoria district) are important producers of turmeric in the country.
The area under dry ginger was 17,000 yielding a produce of 15,000 tons in 1950-51 1995-96 the area increased to 90,000 ha (annual increase being 9.52%) while the production shot up to 1,71,000 tones (23.1% per annum ). During 1999′ 2000despite decline in the area of the ginger (13.33%! the production witnessed phenomenal increase (53.80%) due to 1.78 times rise in the per hectare yield of the crop (Table 11 .XVIII).
Kerala occupies 19.40 per cent of the total area of ginger in the country (Table 11 .XIX). It also occupies first place in the production of dry gingering the country (22.22%). In Kerala Kottayam Kozhikode, Malappuram and Ernakulam districts are the main producers. Others include Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu (Nilgiris district), and Andhra Pradesh.
About 85 per cent of the total production of ginger in the country is consumed internally. The rest is exported to the West Asian countries. During 1977-78 the total export of ginger was 11,300 tones (value: Rs. 8.3 crores) which increased to 18,440 tons in 1993-94 but fell down to 12,020 tons in 1994-95.