Rhizome rot effect: Yield of turmeric crop in Maharashtra likely to be reduced by 20 per cent
Agricultural scientists cite last year’s prolonged monsoon as the main reasonpune Updated: Mar 06, 2018 15:27 IST
The cost of turmeric is expected to rise this year, according to senior agricultural scientists. The yield of the turmeric crop in Maharashtra,Telangana and Andhra Pradesh is expected to drastically reduce this year due to the effect of the rhizome rot disease, caused by last year’s prolonged monsoon.
Turmeric, which has great medicinal value, from these three states accounts for nearly 70 per cent of country’s total production. Within Maharashtra, Sangli and Parbhani are major turmeric growing districts. This year, experts expect the yield to be lower by at least 20 per cent due to rhizome rot disease, caused by fungal infection.
Dilip Kathmale, head, turmeric department at the agriculture research station in Sangli, said, “Prolonged monsoon created a conducive atmosphere for the rhizome rot disease, which affected the yield of rhizomes. Extended monsoons created waterlogged conditions in the fields, resulting in a reduction in the yield by 20 per cent.”
As per the government of Maharashtra statistics,turmeric was grown on around 10,874 hectares in 2016-17, producing 1,77,704 metric tonnes in the same year. However, for 2017-18 ,the state government’s agriculture department has registered a total sowing area in Maharashtra of 11,241 hectares, which is higher than last year and was expected to produce 1,86,751 metric tonnes of turmeric. However, agricultural scientists only expect a total yield of 149,401 metric tonnes.
Jitendra Kadam, a scientist at the Post Graduate Institute of Post Harvest Management, Roha, said,“Yes, we are expecting reduction in yield of turmeric crop. As far as Sangli is concerned, 1,002 hectares of total area was under cultivation of turmeric, but because of infestation of rhizome rot disease, the yield may not be as expected.”
According to Kadam, most of the late sown crops get heavily infested with the disease. “Also, there is the diversion of the photosynthetic material flow of matured leaves toward rhizomes damaged by hailstorms and hail in some parts of Maharashtra. This reduction in yield may push the price of turmeric higher in the near future,” he said.
According to scientists, many farmers in western Maharashtra switched to turmeric because of not getting the desired prices for cane.
It takes nine months to harvest a crop of turmeric and harvesting of the late sown varieties will be completed by March.