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Description | Overview | History | Cultivation pattern | Turmeric producing countries | Indian turmeric market | Major trading centers

Turmeric is a 5000 years old herb, that belongs to, Zingiberaceae,the family of Ginger. Its rootstalk, in powdered form, is used as a spice (also a dye) throughout the world. This tropical herb plant is usually 3 to 5 feet in height having flowers of dull yellow color and is largely cultivated in the parts of Southeast Asia. Turmeric as spice is deep yellow in color having a pungent flavor. To convert it into a powdered form, the rootstalk is boiled, dried, cleaned and polished and then powdered.


Turmeric is one of the oldest spices and had been used in India since ages. That is why it is said that this spice belongs to India and also called ‘Indian saffron’. It is used in many Hindu rituals even now and Indians tend to be attached to it emotionally. It is also used as a medicine for stomachaches and disorders. This is because of this bonding only that India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of this spice. The world production of turmeric stands at around 800000 tons in which India hold a share of approximately 75-80%. Also India consumes around 80% of its own production. The major turmeric exporting countries constitutes: -
  • India
  • Thailand
  • Other Southeast Asian countries
  • Central and Latin American countries
  • Taiwan

The major importing countries of turmeric are: -

  • Japan

  • Sri Lanka

  • Iran

  • United Arab Emirates

  • United States

  • United Kingdom

  • Ethiopia



The exact origin of turmeric is unidentified but it is said that it originated in the parts of western India. It has been used in India for 5000 years now. Initially it was cultivated as a dye as its bright yellow color works as a coloring agent. Then with time people came to know about its developed uses and they started using it for cosmetic purposes and then as a medicine. Turmeric reached China by 700AD, East Africa by 800AD and West Africa by 1200AD and started becoming popular through out the world.

  The Arab traders took turmeric to Europe in 13th century. Marco Polo was so impressed by turmeric that he mentioned it as a vegetable that has properties of saffron, but it is not really saffron. Ancient Indian medical literature, Ayurveda also mentions about turmeric being an extremely effective herb for stomach disorders and food poisoning.

Cultivation pattern

Turmeric is a plant that is cultivated and propagated with the help of its rootstalk. The plant is perennial having bright green leaves and yellow conical flowers. It needs hot and humid climate to prosper and it generally grows on light black or red soils that are clayey in nature. That is why the rootstalk is sown in around the spring season. The harvesting of this plant is done when the leaves of this plant start turning yellowish after 7 to 10 months of plantation. The plant is harvested by digging the rootstalks up. It is grown from the sea level to 1200 meters above mean sea level.

The yield of this crop also depends on the amount of rainfall it gets, as it requires an appropriate amount of water to survive. Also, the water shouldn’t be alkaline in nature as it is harmful for growth of the plant

Turmeric producing countries


  • India

  • Bangladesh

  • Pakistan

  • Sri Lanka

  • Taiwan

  • China

  • Myanmar

  • Indonesia

  • Jamaica

  • Haiti

  • Costa Rica

  • Peru

  • Brazil

  • Malaysia

  • Vietnam

  • Thailand

  • Philippines

  • Japan

  • Korea

These countries contribute in the production of around 800000 tons of turmeric annually. India wholly dominates the world production scenario contributing to approximately 75% of the world’s total production producing 600000 tons of turmeric annually. It also holds the top position in the list of world’s leading exporters of turmeric. Asian countries usually consume a large share of their own produce and India stands at top in this case also.

Production of turmeric in India

In India, it is cultivated in states of

  • Andhara Pradesh
  • Karnataka
  • Orissa
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Kerala
  • Maharashtra

The production of turmeric is concentrated in the southern part of the country mainly in the peninsular area. The warm climatic conditions and consistent rainfall in those areas support the growth of turmeric and many other spices also. Andhra Pradesh is the leading turmeric producing state in India followed by Tamil Nadu. Andhra Pradesh also dominates the area under production of turmeric.


Indian turmeric market

Turmeric holds a reputation of being auspicious in India. It has been used in India since a long time and is also used in many Hindu rituals and ceremonies. India’s production of turmeric is the largest in the world. Andhra Pradesh stands to be the leading turmeric producing state in India. It exceeds the domestic demand and that gets India into an exporting condition. The Indian turmeric is considered to be of the best quality in the world. The country contributes to the largest share in the world’s total exports figuring around 40000 tons to the countries like
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • Sri Lanka

UAE accounts for the largest share in total Indian exports followed by United States. Turmeric is available in two seasons in India i.e. from February to May and from August to October. There are various varieties of turmeric that are produced in India namely: -

  • Alleppey Finger (Kerala)

  • Erode Turmeric (Tamil Nadu)

  • Salem Turmeric (Tamil Nadu)

  • Rajapore Turmeric (Maharashtra)

  • Sangli Turmeric (Maharashtra)

  • Nizamabad Bulb (Andhra Pradesh)

From the above-mentioned varieties of turmeric, Alleppey, Rajapore and Erode varieties are exported from India.

Major trading centers of turmeric


In India, turmeric is traded at

  • Nizamabad

  • Dugirala in Andhra Pradesh

  • Sangli in Maharashtra

  • Salem

  • Erode

  • Dharmapuri

  • Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu

Also, turmeric is traded in Indian commodity exchanges namely, National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange ltd and The Spices and Oilseeds Exchange Ltd.


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