Turmeric is one of the oldest known spices in the world. Turmeric plant is an erect growing perennial herb but commercially cultivated as an annual. Botanical name of turmeric is Curcuma longa. India is a major producer of turmeric and major production centers are Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Being a sub-tropical crop, turmeric prefers a warm and humid climate. Average rainfall requirement is 1,500mm and temperature range preferred is 20°–30°C. Turmeric grows well up to 1,200 meters above mean sea-level.


Well-drained loamy soils are best for turmeric cultivation. Turmeric grows well in sandy or clayey loam or red loamy soils having acidic to slightly alkaline pH.


Three types of turmeric varieties are available for commercial production: short-duration varieties with a life cycle of 7 months; medium duration varieties with a life cycle of 8 months and long-duration varieties with a life cycle of 9 months.


Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 30.70 Duration (days): 285 Dry recovery (%): 20.5 Curcumin (%): 4.20 Oleoresin (%): 4.0 Recommended for: Tamil Nadu

Co 1

Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 30.50 Duration (days): 285 Dry recovery (%): 19.5 Curcumin (%): 3.20 Oleoresin (%): 6.7 Recommended for: Tamil Nadu

IISR Prabha

Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 37.47 Duration (days): 205 Dry recovery (%) : 19.5 Curcumin (%) : 6.53 Oleoresin (%) : 15.0 Recommended for: Kerala and Tamil Nadu

IISR Pratibha

Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 39 Duration (days): 225 Dry recovery (%) : 18.5 Curcumin (%) : 6.2 Oleoresin (%) : 16 Recommended for: Kerala and Tamil Nadu ((Krishna)) Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 9.2 Duration (days): 240 Dry recovery (%) : 16.4 Curcumin (%) : 2.8 Oleoresin (%) : 3.8 Recommended for: Maharashtra

Rajendra Sonia

Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 4.8 Duration (days): 225 Dry recovery (%) : 18 Curcumin (%) : 8.4 Recommended for: North Bihar ((Suvarna)) Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 17 Duration (days): 200 Dry recovery (%) : 20 Curcumin (%) : 4.3 Oleoresin (%) : 13.5 Recommended for: Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh


Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 29 Duration (days): 250 Dry recovery (%) : 25 Curcumin (%) : 6.3 Oleoresin (%) : 13.5 Recommended for: Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala


Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 31 Duration (days): 240 Dry recovery (%) : 23 Curcumin (%) : 6.4 Oleoresin (%) : 13.5 Recommended for: Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala


Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 20.7 Duration (days): 250 Dry recovery (%) : 31 Curcumin (%) : 9.3 Oleoresin (%) : 13.5 Recommended for: Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh Andhra Pradesh and Kerala


Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 20 Duration (days): 253 Dry recovery (%) : 26 Curcumin (%) : 9.3 Oleoresin (%) : 13 Recommended for: Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh Sudarsana Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 29 Duration (days): 190 Dry recovery (%) : 12 Curcumin (%) : 5.3 Oleoresin (%) : 15 Recommended for: Kerala and Andhra Pradesh


Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 15 Duration (days): 210 Dry recovery (%) : 23 Curcumin (%) : 3 Oleoresin (%) : 11 Recommended for: Gujarat


Average yield of fresh rhizomes (tons/ha): 29 Duration (days): 190 Dry recovery (%) : 12 Curcumin (%) : 7.3 Oleoresin (%) : 13.5 Recommended for: Kerala and Andhra Pradesh


Turmeric is propagated through mother rhizomes and finger rhizomes. Recommended seed rate is 2,500kg rhizomes/ha. Seed rhizomes must be treated with a fungicidal solution such as Dithane M-45 (0.3%) and Ekalux (0.2%) for 30 minutes in order to prevent fungal infestations.

Growing Turmeric

In bed planting, field beds of 1 m width and convenient length with 15cm height are prepared. In ridge system of panting ridges or furrows are made in the field and turmeric is planted in these ridges. In flat system of planting, turmeric is directly planted in well prepared main field. Spacing for bed system of planting is 30cm × 15cm or 30cm × 20cm and spacing for ridge system of planting is 40–60cm × 25cm (on ridges and in furrows) and in flat system of planting recommended spacing is 50cm × 15cm.


At the time of field preparation, FYM (farm yard manure) @ 40 tons/ha must be incorporated into the top soil in order to enrich the soil fertility. Afterwards a fertilizer dose of 60:50:120kg NPK/ha is recommended. The entire dose of K2O and half of P2O5 is applied as basal dose. Half of N is applied 45 days after planting and the other half with the remaining dose of P2O5 is given 3 months after planting.


Mulching is an essential practice for turmeric cultivation. Once planting is completed, the crop is mulched with green leaves @ 12000–15,000kg/ha. Mulching must be repeated after every fertilizer application.


Earthing up of the beds is recommended to enhance the root development of the plants. First Earthing up is recommended at 50–60 days after planting and the next after 40 days. Since the crop does not stand Waterlogging, heavy watering must be avoided. Crop is susceptible to heavy shade also and hence care must be given to provide adequate shade to the plants.


Turmeric may be grown as a rainfed crop as well as an irrigated crop. If the crop is raised as an irrigated crop, 15–40 irrigations may be necessary at 7–10 days intervals.


Turmeric takes 6–9 months for harvesting depending on the variety. Harvesting time is when the aerial portion of the plants start wilting. In fact, drying up of the aerial portion of the plant is an indication of crop maturity. Average yield of fresh rhizomes is approx. 25–30 tons/ha.


Curing of Turmeric Rhizomes

Harvested rhizomes are washed well to remove the dirt and other impurities. Afterwards, finger rhizomes are separated from the mother rhizomes and cooked in boiling water for 1 hour under slight alkaline condition (100g of sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate in 100 liters of water). For boiling turmeric, usually copper galvanized/iron or earthen vessels are used. It takes 40–60 minutes of boiling to reach the correct stage. Mother rhizomes are also cured in the same way. Mother rhizomes and finger rhizomes are generally cured separately.

Drying of Cured Turmeric

Cooked turmeric rhizomes are sun-dried on bamboo mat or on a drying floor for 10–15 days. The dry recovery varies from 15–30% depending on variety, location and cultural practices. The dried turmeric is subjected to polishing either manually by rubbing it on concrete flooring or mechanically in power operated drums. Turmeric powder is added to the drum either as powder or as emulsion for giving bright colour to the rhizome.

Sorting and Grading of Turmeric

Grading is done based on the size, color, and shape. Major grades used are ‘finger’, and round ‘split’. Cured turmeric is also marked under its varietal names.

Processed Products of Turmeric

Turmeric powder or ground turmeric is the most common value-added product of turmeric. Other value added products are turmeric dye, turmeric creams, and turmeric pills.

Uses and Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric is a powerful healer because of the active ingredient ‘curcumin’ present in it. Turmeric has antimicrobial properties and hence used to heal microbial infections and minor wounds and burns. Turmeric is well-known in ayurveda for its anti-inflammatory properties and hence used for the treatment of arthritis. Turmeric is proved to be effective in the treatment of various forms of cancer. Turmeric is a natural liver detoxifier and a natural pain killer. In Chinese medicines, turmeric is used for the treatment of depression. Turmeric is extensively uses various cosmetic preparations because of its skin rejuvenating property. In traditional medicines, turmeric tea is recommended as a natural remedy for many diseases.

Turmeric Tea

Take four cups of water in a sauce pan and bring it to boil. Add one tablespoon ground turmeric into the boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Then strain this solution into a mug and add lemon or honey to