As turmeric prices tumble, Health Minister promotes it as medicine

at 3:28 pm

New Delhi (NVI) Amid tumbling prices of turmeric across India, the country’s health minister has sought to promote the medicinal properties and “preventive & therapeutic” qualities of this Golden Spice, which is also referred as ‘Indian saffron’.

Taking to twitter, Union Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan has said: “Turmeric or Haldi has ‘curcumin’ which gives the spice preventive & therapeutic quality recognized by Indian rishis since times immemorial. Its anti-carcinogenic property & ability to fight infections is already established.”

 The medicinal use of turmeric dates back to nearly 4000 years. In Southeast Asia, turmeric is used not only as a principal spice but also as a component in religious ceremonies. Modern medicine has begun to recognize its importance, as indicated by the over 3000 publications dealing with turmeric that came out within the last 25 years.

India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of turmeric in the world. Indian turmeric is regarded as best in the world because of its high curcumin content. India accounts for about 80 per cent of world turmeric production and 60 per cent of world exports.

Turmeric  is a flower plant, Curcuma longa of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, the roots of which are used in cooking. The greatest diversity of Curcuma species by number alone is in India, at around 40 to 45 species.

However, the price of the spice has been continuously falling at the Turmeric Futures this year mainly because of bumper production, decline in local demand and exports. This is in contrast to 20180-19 which saw a record turmeric exports of more than 120,000 tonnes.

The situation has deteriorated so much so that officials of the Telangana agriculture department recently urged the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) to include turmeric under the MSP scheme. Considered a cash crop, turmeric is not currently among those 25 crops for which a support price is declared by the Centre.

The important turmeric growing States in India are, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Maharastra, Assam, Kerala, Karnataka and West Bengal, in which Andhra Pradesh occupies 40 per cent of total turmeric area followed by Orissa and Tamil Nadu occupying 17 per cent and 13 per cent of total turmeric area respectively.