ALAPPUZHA: The Alappuzha brands of turmeric will get a boost with the principal agriculture office deciding to expand farm-based cultivation in the district. Turmeric, used widely to make beauty products and medicine, is currently being cultivated in individual farms in several parts of the district. With the government decision to promote brands like Alappuzha Supreme and Alappuzha Fingers, the district will secure a prominent place in the spice market.
Beena Natesh, principal agriculture officer here, said that turmeric would be cultivated in over 600 acres in two farms at Mavelikara and Arunoottimangalam. They had received instructions from the agriculture minister in this respect. “The turmeric grown in Alappuzha has high content of curcumin due to the special feature of the soil here. The department will focus on the production in farm lands near Mavelikara with the help of Onattuara Vikasana Agency,” she said.
Turmeric cultivation is currently prevalent in several places in the district, including in government farms on a small scale. The department provides funds of at least Rs 12,000 for cultivation in a hectare of land. At least 2000 kilograms of turmeric can be planted in one hectare. If cultivation is launched during the rainy season in June-July, which is the ideal time, it can be reaped by December. It can be grown everywhere in the district as it has loose sand, she said. A farmer, Dildeep Kumari, Thazhchayil, Aryad, has been cultivating turmeric successfully in her five-cent land.
Prathibha, a turmeric variety, was sown in the beds with a spacing of 25 x 25 cm and the crop is disease-free. The crop gave her a good yield of 500 kg, processed 200 kg and sold about 40 kg at Rs 400- Rs 500 per kilogram earning a profit of Rs 6,500. The Prathibha variety, according to her, is high-yielding and the turmeric powder has good flavour, aroma and quality. However, curry powder-making units have preferred low-priced turmeric arriving from neighbouring states, she added. Meanwhile, the state government has decided to ask the centre to include turmeric in the list of exporting crops, which will benefit the district.