A steep decline in the rate of turmeric has brought worries for about 350 farmers of the state, who are now unable to recover even the cost of production.
“Rate of turmeric witnessed a steep decline from Rs 16,000 per quintal last year to just Rs 3,000 per quintal this year due to heavy production of the crop in southern states,” president of the Farm’s Produce Promotion Society, (FAPRO), comprising about 100 farmers producing turmeric in the district, Jaswinder Singh Dhaliwal, told Hindustan Times.
Keeping in mind the last year’s rate, farmers invested in turmeric cultivation by purchasing high quality seeds at a rate of Rs 5,000 per quintal, Dhaliwal, said, adding that bumper crop in the southern states, apart from about 700 tonnes of carryover stock of turmeric, led to decline in the rate.
“The rate of production of turmeric is 80 to 90 quintal per acre and total production in the state is just 1% of the total Rs 300-crore worth demand,” he said, adding that lack of adequate marketing support was the main worry of the farmers.
For the benefit of its members, FAPRO, which is recognised as a model society of farmers both by state and Centre, had launched a turmeric processing unit in Hariana village of the district and took initiative in marketing the processed turmeric, Dhaliwal said. The processing capacity of the boiler is 4,000 quintal a day, if the unit is operational for eight hours, he said.
For marketing of the crop, society opened its own retail outlet and six more outlets would be opened within a month, he said, admitting, however, the retail network was capable of selling only a fraction of the total produce.
Dhaliwal, who was recently elected president of the society for third consecutive term of five years, said that the society was purchasing a mobile boiling machine, which would be taken to the fields of farmers for boiling of turmeric, so that farmers could dry their produce in the field itself.
Agriculture officer of Hoshiarpur district Chaman Lal Vashisht, who is also nodal officer of FAPRO, said that apart from FAPRO, other agriculture societies in the area of Moga, Batala, Nabha, Patiala and Bathinda were also purchasing mobile boiling machines to help turmeric farmers of the area.
After March 15, weather would be conducive for operation of the mobile boilers, he said, adding that one boiler had the capacity to boil at least 100 to 150 quintal of turmeric a day.
A total of 8,000 acre of land is under turmeric cultivation and if the marketing network is strengthened, then it would not be difficult to sell the produce, Vashisht said.
Appealing the farmers not to panic, Vashisht said that turmeric once processed has the shelf life of at least seven years.