You may have read our post on high curcumin turmeric that is exclusive to Meghalaya called Lakadong Turmeric. It has been allotted the much coveted GI tag. There is a growing demand for curcumin (the pigment in turmeric that has health benefits) and hence for high curcumin turmeric. Interestingly Lakadong turmeric is grown only in a small region in the state of Meghalaya.
If Lakadong is a high curcumin turmeric and if it is grown in a small region, one would assume that farmers who grow them will get good return on their investment. And, they would be looking at ways of increasing production. Is this happening?
How is this special high curcumin turmeric grown? Where is it grown? Are buyers lining up to buy their produce?
Read on to find out the answers as team Zizira takes you to village Mootyrchiah in the West Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya and gets you first-hand reports from two lady farmers who grow this special spice. Lakadong, high curcumin turmeric, is grown exclusively in a few villages in the West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya. Farming is the main source of income in Mootyrchiah village and most farmers are growing Lakadong Turmeric.
The Zizira team met two dynamic lady farmers, Pristene and Teimon, from this village. They belong to Self Help Groups (SHG) of West Jaintia Hills that grow high curcumin turmeric Lakadong. The SHGs work under a Federation, called ‘Life Federation’, formed in 2007 and located at Laskein village. The Federation has a factory with 6 dehydrating machines, a grinding machine, a packaging room, oleo-resin extracting machines and a greenhouse. All these are shared by its members.
Pristene Thyllei is the president of an SHG called ‘Sein Pynbhalang”. Ms Teimon Shylla is the secretary of another SHG called “Lakhihlang”.
Turmeric is the root of the plant and the whole crop is harvested at one go by uprooting. For the next crop, selected pieces of the harvested turmeric are planted (the ‘mother rhizome’ is planted – the central part of a cluster of turmeric roots). From these new turmeric plants grow! Did you know that this village has always used the previous harvest’s turmeric to grow the next crop? So, the cultivar has come down generations. They have not used any other source!
“What we plant has come from our forefathers – from one crop to the next!” said Pristene. The pride in her voice was noticeable and rightly so.
Hard Work Goes Into Tending These High Curcumin Turmeric Plants
Turmeric takes up to 10 months to mature. The field is readied in the month of March by cleaning the dried foliage and burning them. In April the field is ploughed and pieces of turmeric from the most recent harvest are sown.
The farmers weed often to avoid pests in Lakadong turmeric.
“In order to protect the spices from pests, we weed the field every 45 days and add manure like cow dung, pig manure and chicken manure.
Excess heat can burn and damage the turmeric plants. To protect the plants from heat, we cover the stem with mud mixed with cut plants. If we are consistent with the care we give, then our yield will be good” the farmers said.
Given the increase in demand for curcumin, you would have expected the farmers growing turmeric with high curcumin content to be doing really well. But, what the farmers said was surprising. Find out for yourself!
Have you used Lakadong turmeric? Please share your experience and feedback on this valuable and exotic spice of Meghalaya.
Do you wish to buy organically produced Lakadong turmeric powder from farmers like Pristene? You can buy it right here in our store. Try it and give us your feedback.