Marking a milestone in India’s exports, Meghalaya’s high quality turmeric and ginger powder are making their way to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
The Lakadong variety of turmeric originating from the Lakadong area of the West Jaintia Hills district is considered one of the best varieties in the world. Its curcumin content is approximately 6.8 to 7.5 per cent, as stated by Meghalaya’s Agriculture Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh. He highlighted that the ginger powder, sourced from the Ri-Bhoi district, also meets high standards.
“About 150 kg of Lakadong turmeric and another 150 kg of ginger powder were shipped to the Netherlands. An additional 210 kg of Lakadong turmeric and 5 kg of ginger powder are en route to the UK,” the state agriculture minister said.
He explained that this export initiative is part of a trial, supported by the state government, in response to consumer demand in these two countries.
Five years post the inception of Mission Lakadong, the indigenous turmeric has revitalised the region’s economy, trade, and agricultural practices, making it export-ready. According to The Print, the primary rivals in this endeavour are Telangana and Maharashtra.
While numerous other states surpass Meghalaya in terms of turmeric quantity produced, the situation changes when focussing on quality. Within the West Jaintia Hill district, three turmeric varieties are cultivated – Lachein, Lasyein, and Lakadong.
Lachein and Lasyein types have about 4-5% curcumin, but Lakadong turmeric contains an average of 7% curcumin. This unique variety is found only in a small district bordered by Bangladesh to the south and Assam to the north. Efforts to grow this turmeric elsewhere led to a notable drop in curcumin levels.
The export of these products, sourced from women’s self-help groups in these districts, was intended to commence last year. However, the pandemic prevented it, as clarified by Lyngdoh.
During 2016-17, Meghalaya yielded 16,383 metric tonnes of turmeric, with over 50% originating from West Jaintia Hills district, particularly villages like Sumer, Lakadong, Shangpung, Iooksi, Nongtyngkoh, and Khoushnong, known for exceptional turmeric cultivation.
India leads globally as the largest spice producer, consumer, and exporter. Spice production surged, hitting 10.87 million tonnes in 2021-22. Notably, spice exports in 2020-21 achieved record highs, witnessing a 17% surge in US dollar value and a 30% increase in volume, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation.
In the 2021-22 period, India’s primary spice exports were led by chilli, followed by spice oils and oleoresins, mint products, cumin, and turmeric.
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India is responsible for around 75 of the 109 varieties listed by the International Organisation for Standardsation (ISO). Pepper, cardamom, chilli, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, celery, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, nutmeg and mace, curry powder, spice oils, and oleoresins are produced and exported. Among these, chilli, cumin, turmeric, ginger, and coriander constitute approximately 76 % of total production.
The leading spice-producing states in India are Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Assam, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.
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