How does it feel to be sitting on a gold mine and not being able to get the benefit of the gold? Not a good feeling, surely. The turmeric farmers of Meghalaya are facing similar worries as their curcumin-rich turmeric harvests fail to get the buyers and the price they should.
What you see above is a view of the rolling, beautiful terrain of the district of West Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya. This is home to many such turmeric farmers. Lakadong Turmeric, the spice that grows in Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya, is high in this crucial curcumin content. It even has the much coveted GI (Geographical Indications) tag.
The world around is excited about the medicinal potential of curcumin, an extract of turmeric. But we, in India, seem blissfully unaware of this great wealth.
India Unaware of the Health Benefits of Curcumin?Seems to. India is the largest manufacturer of curcumin, but people do not know its worth. Hence the country exports most of its produce. This is according to this online report:
“Curcumin production is highly dependent on turmeric production which sees regional domination by India. India is the largest manufacturer of curcumin with production exceeding 80% of global market. Low consumer awareness of curcumin as a health ingredient in India results in the country exporting majority of its product to North America and Europe.”
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This is certainly a sad state of affairs we decided to find out more about this. The Zizira team visited Mootyrchiah, a village in West Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya and met with turmeric farmers and leaders of self-help groups growing Lakadong (Curcuma Longa) turmeric.
Turmeric Farmers Growing Lakadong Variety Waiting for Better Times
Given the increase in demand for curcumin, you would have expected the farmers growing turmeric with high curcumin content to be benefiting. But, what the Zizira team heard from turmeric farmers of Meghalaya was surprising.
“Growing Lakadong turmeric used to be profitable and had increased our income. We were able to maintain our families and got to do many other things. But now, we are facing a problem because the demand is very low”, said one of the turmeric farmers growing Lakadong (curcuma longa) turmeric.
Turmeric Farmers of Meghalaya Cutting Back Production of Lakadong
Over the past two years, the demand for this particular organic Lakadong (curcuma longa) turmeric has been very low, said the farmers. Why?
Pristine, one of the turmeric farmers told the Zizira team "it makes no difference to the local traders whether the spice is organic or not. Since the price of non-organic is lower, the demand for organic Lakadong turmeric has been affected"
Disheartened by the low demand, some of the leaders of self-help groups are no longer encouraging farmers to grow Lakadong turmeric on a large scale. Most of the villagers now grow the spice only in their own backyards and hence the production has dropped, from around 600 Kg. per year/per household to 100 Kgs. per year/per household!
Challenges faced by traditional turmeric farmers
Waiting for Increase in Demand
The Lakadong (curcuma longa) turmeric grown by the members of Life Federation Self Help Group (SHG) is totally organic. This was confirmed by the Zizira team during their visit. And, as a routine, the turmeric powder they produce is checked and tested for quality by the scientists at Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Umiam. In fact, Team Zizira procured a batch of Lakadong turmeric powder during their field visit and sent a sample to ICAR for testing. It was thrilling to read the report – the curcumin content was 7.94%, which is really high.
As you can see – the Lakadong Turmeric grown in Mootyrchiah village is valuable for its high curcumin content. Zizira brings you this very turmeric. It is available for delivery anywhere in India.
Try it for its flavor, health benefits and for its color. And, give us your feedback. We hope to see the members of the Self Help Groups of Mootyrchiah benefit by an increase in demand of this unique, healthy spice from Meghalaya!
Contact us if you have any further questions.