New Development Plan for Spices on the Anvil

This amazing spice, which is Turmeric a close relative of ginger, is surprisingly easy to grow, even if you live where the snow flies.

Used in many different ethnic cuisines, turmeric comes from the fleshy roots (called rhizomes) of a tropical plant. The turmeric plant (Curcuma longa) is a native of southern Asia, and it’s often dried and pulverized into a powder that’s used to flavor many Asian-inspired dishes. The distinctive yellow pigment of the turmeric root lends its color to curries, pickles and other dishes. But turmeric doesn’t have to be dried and pulverized before using it in the kitchen. The flavor of the fresh root, whether grated or sliced, is slightly zippy and earthy; it’s a favorite of almost all indian houses. Although this species is native to climates far more tropical than what most of us have here in North America, it’s possible to grow it right here at home.

State Government should have a comprehensive plan for growing turmeric and chilli as well as their processing and marketing, said Chief Secretary SK Joshi.

He was addressing a meeting of Spices Development Agency at the Secretariat, he instructed officials to start working on the plan. Joshi said as many as 70,000 farmers grow turmeric while 1.4 lakh farmers grow chilli in the State and instructed officials of the concerned departments to prepare a road map for these crops for the next three to five years. The plans, he said, must include integrated pest management, market linkages, organizing buyers and sellers meeting, stabilization of prices and other related issues.

The Horticulture University should focus on research that will provide direct benefits for these farmers and ensure effective methods for value addition to these crops. The two crops are mostly grown in Khammam, Nizamabad, Warangal, Jagityal, Jayshankar Bhupalpally, Mahbubabad and Bhadadri Kothagudem, he said. Principal Secretary of Agriculture Department J Parthasarathi said including turmeric, chilli, ginger and garlic, Telangana farmers grow eight varieties of spices.

A Spice Park was being set up at Padgal in Nizamabad district at a cost of Rs 30 crore which would help farmers grow these crops, he added. The meeting was attended by, among others, Horticulture Commissioner Venkatram Reddy and Spices Board Deputy Director J Lingappa.

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