Thursday, July 25, 2024

How to make Sh1m from half an acre of turmeric in nine months

Turmeric crop is one of the less cultivated crops in Kenya despite its high economic value, with the country relying on imports to address the local demand.

The low uptake of the crop by farmers has been attributed to lack of information. With the rising demand for the spice, farmers can tap into the potential of this crop to improve their livelihoods.

Turmeric crop requires a tropical climate with a heavy rain period, which is followed by a hot dry spell. In Kenya, the crop is mainly grown in the coastal regions and areas with similar climatic conditions.

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Various varieties are grown, including Swarna, Sudarshana, Suguna, BSR 1, Krishna, Rajendra Sonia, BSR 2, Allepy finger turmeric, Ranga, and Waigaon, among others.

A farmer can plant the crop either as whole or split as mother or finger rhizomes of 40-50g in weight.

However, experts recommend the mother rhizomes methods due to their good production. About 1,000kg of mother or finger rhizomes are required for planting an acre.

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Proper irrigation is required and the crop requires a litre of water per crop per week during dry season.

According to experts, a farmer should apply 16 tonnes of well-decomposed farmyard manure during land preparation.

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For fertiliser, NPK at a ratio of 30:12:12 kilos per half an acre is recommended. A month later, top-dress with UREA at 12.2kg per ½ acre.

Typically, the crop takes 7 to 10 months to mature, depending on the climate, soil conditions, and the specific cultivar being grown.

It is prone to various pests, including thrips, rhizome scales, nematode pests, and shoot, while borers and diseases such as leaf blotch, leaf spot, leaf blight, root not, and rhizome rot are also a nightmare.

To curb pests and diseases that can wipe out the entire produce, seek professional assistance on seeing any sign of disease or pest. Harvesting is done when the leaves begin turning yellow and drying up.

According to a study by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), the yield of turmeric in Kenya can range from 3 to 6 tonnes per acre.

Some sources, however, say that a single acre can produce an average yield of 10 to 15 tonnes per acre of green turmeric.

The crop has a high demand both locally and internationally meaning good returns for the farmers. It is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it a popular ingredient in traditional medicine and wellness products.

The market price of turmeric can vary depending on the quality and demand, but generally, it ranges from Sh200 to Sh400, depending on variety and demand.

A half-acre can yield up to 7,500 kilos of wet turmeric rhizomes. Assuming an average price of Sh250, this translates to Sh1.8 million.

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