With the spiralling rise of kitchen staples such as onion, potato and tomato because of a deficient monsoon, the production of spices is also likely to go down. With rains playing truant in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, turmeric production is likely to take a hit this year.
According to experts, although there has been a 20% rise in acreage under turmeric across these states, productivity is likely to decline. Turmeric arrivals are likely to fall by 40% unless the rains make a comeback in September.
Turmeric production in the country, which accounts for nearly 90% of global produce, is expected to be lower by around 20-25% this year, according to people in the industry.In Sangli, one of the biggest markets for turmeric in Maharashtra, turmeric arrivals amount to some 13 lakh quintals on an annual basis. Around 50% of the arrivals happen in Sangli, Satara, Karad Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. According to Jitendra Kadam, station head and turmeric expert at the research station at Sangli, farmers switched to turmeric last year because farmers did not get prices for cane. The farmers, however, find themselves in trouble because of the lack of water to sustain the crop.
“From 800-900 hectares, the area under acreage at Sangli has gone up to 1500 hectares. Turmeric from Sangli has a special flavour which is why it is popular among traders across the country,” he pointed out.
There has been a rise of R1,500 per quintal in turmeric prices from R9,500 per quintal to R10,000 for the Rajapur variety and R8,200-7,500 per quintal for the Kadapa variety, which is why more farmers went in for turmeric cultivation, he said. Stocks of turmeric in the country on 31 March were around 90,000 tonne. This has since increased to 165,000 tonne, contributing to the decline in prices.
Since it takes nine months to harvest a crop of turmeric, farmers in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have shifted to the cultivation of sugar cane, maize and sunflower, which take around six months to harvest. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, West Bengal and Karnataka are the top producing states. Maharashtra takes the fifth spot.