Erode: Turmeric farmers here hope of a brighter future with prices of the yellow spice increasing steadily after a gap of nine years.
The prices have gone up from Rs 5,500 to Rs 8,000 per quintal since the first week of February due to low arrivals, farmers said. They hope it will cross Rs 12,000 on account of growing demand.
The usual business was delayed due to unexpected rain during the Pongal festival in January, said M Sathyamurthy, secretary of the Erode Turmeric Merchants and Godown Owners Association. “Due to rain, harvesting was delayed. Farmers started harvesting only in the third week of January,” he told TOI. “We started business from February first week and are expecting good business in the coming months.”
Erode is well known for its turmeric. Buyers from across south India throng the auction markets set up by the government at four places in the district.
Turmeric prices had crossed Rs 19,000 in 2012. But it started dropping after several farmers started cultivation. “Because of high arrivals, prices crashed to Rs 3,000 per quintal in 2014,” Sathyamurthy said.
According to Turmeric Farmers Association sources, the area under cultivation has now been reduced by half. Of the 2.5 lakh acres under turmeric cultivation in Tamil Nadu, one lakh acres was in Erode.
“Now, it is planted on 50,000 acres in the state and 15,000 acres in Erode,” said V Rajamanickam, a turmeric farmer.
Farmers from other states, including Karnataka and Telangana, are bringing their produce to sales depots in Erode. “Nearly 2,000 bags, each weighing 75kg, arrived here on Wednesday,” said an official at the Erode regulatory sales depot. “Virali manjal, known for medicinal values, was sold for Rs 8,414 per quintal while kizhangu manjal was sold for Rs 7,699 per quintal.”
Story 2
Exports surge 40%: Traders
Erode: While turmeric farmers are reaping rich dividends, merchants are pleasantly surprised by the export market. There is a 40% increase in export compared to the previous years.
“While 14,000 tonnes of turmeric was exported last December, 18,000 tonnes was exported this January,” said M Sathyamurthy, secretary of the Erode Turmeric Merchants and Godown Owners Association.
There’s a huge demand for Erode turmeric from Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, United States of America, United Kingdom and Gulf countries, Sathyamurthy said. “We have been exporting our turmeric to Bangladesh on Kisan Rail. Erode-based merchants will transport products to Nizamabad in Telangana, from where it would be transported to Bangladesh. The railway is charging only 50 % of the regular freight charge. It is very cheap compared to other transportation modes.”
Turmeric farmers and merchants urged the central government to set up a development board exclusively for turmeric in the district. “It’s a long-pending demand,” a farmer told TOI. “Such boards have been set up for red chilli in Kundur in Andhra Pradesh, for cumin in Gujarat and for saffron in Srinagar.”
(photos: S Parthiban, Erode)
Points for graphical works
Prices started increasing from Rs.5,500 to Rs.8,000 per quintal
· Farmers hope price may cross Rs.12,000 in the coming months
· Rates increasing due to minimal arrival to the market
· Turmeric crossed Rs 19,000 per quintal in 2012
· Prices slashed to Rs.3,000 per quintal in 2014
· Turmeric cultivation reduced to 50,000 acre from 2.5 lakh acre in the state
· Turmeric cultivation reduced to 15,000 acre from one lakh acre in Erode district alone
· Virali manjal sold for Rs 8,414 per quintal
· Kizhangu manjal sold for Rs 7,699 per quintal
· Export increased to 40 % this year
· 14,000 tonne exported in December, 2020
· 18,000 tonne exported in January, 2021
· Erode turmeric is exported to Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, United States of America, United Kingdom and Gulf countries

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