Turmeric (Curcuma langa, L.) is an important condiment and a useful dye, with varied uses in drug and cosmetic industries. It is used medicinally for external application and taken internally as a stimulant. `Kum-kum’, popular with every house wife, is also a by product of turmeric. It finds a place in offerings on religious and ceremonial occasions. A type of starch can also be extracted from a particular type of turmeric. India is one of the leading growers, with about 79,300 ha under this crop, producing 1,43,900 tonnes per annum.
Area Of Cultivation
Turmeric is cultivated in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, West Bengal and the north-eastern states. It is also cultivated in small quantities in Kerala, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tripura and Assam. In Andhra Pradesh turmeric is grown in Nizamabad. Dugirala and Cuddapah; in Tamil Nadu In Erode and Salem; and in Maharashtra in Sangli, Jat, Kavthemahankal, Karad, Tasgaon and Barsi.

Turmeric can be cultivated in diverse tropical and sub-tropical conditions, to up to 1,500 metres from sea level, with temperatures varying from 20 to 30°C, and a rainfall above 1500 mm. It is a nine month crop sown in July and harvested in April.
Turmeric thrives in well-drained, fertile, sandy and clayey, black, red or alluvial loams rich in humus and uniform in texture. Rich loamy soils having natural drainage and irrigation facilities are the best. Turmeric cannot stand water stagnation or alkalinity

In wet lands turmeric is rotated with paddy, sugarcane, banana, etc. once in 3 or 4 years. In garden lands it is grown in rotation with sugarcane, chilli, onion, garlic, elephant’s-foot, yam, vegetables, pulses, wheat, ragi and maize. In Gujarat, it is cultivated as a crop subsidiary to ginger and in other areas with chilli and quick-growing vegetables. Often castor and pigeon-pea are planted on borders and on irrigation channels to provide shade. In West Bengal, turmeric is grown as an inter-crop with manage, jack-tree and litchi and on the west coast with coconut and arecanut.


The land is ploughed 4-6 times to bring the soil to a fine tilth. The land is divided into beds of 1 m width and convenient length with a spacing of 30 cm between the beds for drainage channels. In the case of the irrigated crop, ridges and furrows are prepared and the rhizomes are planed in shallow pits on the top of the ridges. Spacing generally adopted is 45-60 cm between the ridges and 15-22 cm between the plants. In beds, rhizomes are planted 22-35 cm apart in each direction. For sowing both the mother-rhizomes, the fingers are used. The fingers are cut into pieces each 4-5 cm long, and the mother rhizomes are planted as such or split into two; each having at least one sound bud. The seed is sometimes sprouted under moist straw before sowing. Depending on the spacing adopted and the extent of mixed cropping the seed-rate may vary from 2,000-2,500 kg per ha. As an inter-crop in a fruit-garden it may be as low as 400-500 kg per ha. The crop is sown from April to July, depending upon the tract. As in the case of ginger, mulching the bed with green leaves is an important practice beneficial to this crop when planting is done on raised beds. Two or three mulchings are given, the first immediately after planting and the second and the third at intervals of 40-50 days.

Fertilizer And Nutrient Management
Turmeric needs heavy manuring. It is not a common practice to manure turmeric with chemical fertilizers. Usually, 40-50 tonnes of farmyard manure is applied at the time of preparing the land. About 1,200-,1800 kg of groundnut-cake is also applied after planting, in two split doses, the first two months after planting and the second a month and a half later. However, instead of groundnut-cake chemical fertilizers to supply 30 kg each of N, and P2O5 and 60 kg of K2O per he may also be applied in split doses as in the case of ginger.

Nutrient recommendations for Turmeric


Organic (tonnes/ha)

Inorganic (kg/ha)

Total (kg/ha)

Average yield (kg/ha)

Spice FYM Leaf mulch N P K N P K  
Turmeric 20 5 60 50 120 280 155 325 10,700
According to the DARE, application of NPK @ 150:125:125 kg/ha is recommended for turmeric at Raigarh.

Harvesting And Curing
The turmeric crop is ready for harvesting in about 7 to 9 months after sowing depending upon the variety. The aromatica types mature in about 7 months and the longa types in about 9 months and the intermediate types in about 8 months. The dry leaves are cut close to the ground. The land is irrigated, if necessary and ploughed in between the rows if the crop is planted on ridges. Otherwise a crowbar is used. The rhizomes are dug up. The curing quality and the proportion of the cured and dried produce to the green produce depend mainly on the variety. Mother-rhizomes give a higher curing percentage than the fingers. The mother-rhizomes and fingers are separated. If need be, the former is kept for seed and the latter is cured for selling. The green rhizomes are boiled in water till a forth comes out and white fumes appear giving out a characteristic odour. After cooking, the rhizomes would be soft and would yield when pressed between the fingers. The quality of the final product, including the colour and aroma depends largely on the right amount of curing. The boiled rhizomes are spread out on a clean floor and allowed to dry in the sun for about 10-15 days. They are stirred 3 or 4 times to ensure uniform drying. The rounds and fingers are dried separately. The former takes more time to dry. When fully dried the turmeric becomes hard and stiff. The dried turmeric is rubbed against the hard surface of the drying-floor or trampled under feet covered with pieces of gunny cloth. The scales and root bases are separated by win-owing. Clean and big pieces are separated out since they fetch a premium price. The broken bits are taken separately.

Preservation Of Seed
Rhizomes for seed are generally heaped in the shade of trees or in well-ventilated sheds and covered with turmeric leaves. Sometimes, the heap is plastered over with earth mixed with cowdung.
Value Added Products
India is the global leader in value-added products development and exports. Germplasm accessions of turmeric were categorized based on levels of essential oil, oleoresins and pungenet principles. Value added products from turmeric include Curcuminoids, dehydrated turmeric powder, oils, and oleoresin.