Tamil Nadu is known for the export of several products and turmeric is one of the key products under this category. Though turmeric is grown and produced in many parts of Tamil Nadu, it is predominantly available in places like Erode, Salem, Villupuram, Dharmapuri and Namakkal. Statistics reveal that nearly 82% of world export is from India only.
There are three types of turmeric, viz. a) Haldi finger; b) round turmeric and c) Kasthuri turmeric. In other countries, turmeric is being used for cooking, cosmetic production and manufacture of medicines. Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka are buying turmeric for food purpose. Japan, China, Australia and Germany import turmeric for not only producing medicines but also cosmetic products.
Turmeric powder is commonly mixed with milk and taken to cure throat sore, cough, cold and fever. It is also mixed with coconut oil and applied on the wounds for quick healing. It is an antiseptic medicine which is used for common injuries. As a contrast, this turmeric is imported from us by other countries which again is powdered and packed in tubes for exporting it back to us.
Some countries sell the tablet form weighing 0.5 mg for Rs.4/- each and 100 mg. tablet for Rs.400/-. If this formula is applied, we will be able to get Rs.4,000/- for 1 kg. turmeric. Currently, one-kilo turmeric fetches Rs.95/- to Rs.105/-. We will certainly be able to earn more if we are in a position to value add turmeric in tablet form.
When it comes to the medicinal value of turmeric, other countries buy turmeric only from India. In particular, there is more demand for the turmeric that is grown in Tamil Nadu. Though turmeric is grown in countries like China, Myanmar, Nigeria, they are not in demand. In Erode market, all types of turmeric are available. Despite that, the turmeric that is grown in Salem is preferred more for its superior quality. The quality can be easily tested by breaking the dry turmeric which will reflect pinkish tinge.
At the same time, if it is shrunk and out of shape, it means that it is affected by fungus. Such a type should not be crushed into powder and exported. If it is found out in the quality test, it will be rejected or we will not get any repeat order. On the other hand, Government subsidy of Rs.50,000/- is available for exporting dry turmeric for a value of 10 lacs through MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme). However, in order to be able to export dry turmeric, we must be a member of the Fragrance and Flavour Board.
During the festivals like Pongal, this turmeric bunch is exported more. Only those who are enrolled as members in APEDA (Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) can export. This will come under the ‘fresh turmeric’ category. Haldi Finger turmeric is exported at three different sizes and prices.
Like turmeric, banana is also exported more from India to other countries. At world level, 30% of banana plantain is grown and produced from India. China, the Philippines, Brazil and Indonesia come next to India. In India, Tamil Nadu stands at the first position in producing banana plantain.
Nagaraj Veeraiah of Chennai has two years of experience in export of banana and also he is a trained person from FIEO (Federation of India Export Organization). He mentions the following details in regards to banana export:-
Several kinds of bananas are being produced in Tamil Nadu. However, ‘Cavendish’ is the type of Morris kind which is exported more in quantity. It is durable for a long time and hence preferred for export. The length of this fruit must be approximately 10-20 cm. They must be washed and cleaned properly like plantain and then packed in 4 hands or 5 hands or 6 hands package.
Care must be taken while packing. Soft Thermocol sheet must be laid beneath the box upon which the plastic-sealed banana bunch must be kept. In between the banana bunch also, we must keep thin Thermocol sheet paper. Private packing houses (small companies engaged in exclusive packing) are also available. They will themselves harvest the bananas, pack them up and load them in the containers. Banana is procured in bulk from Theni district and exported to Saudi Arabia in containers through the port of Tuticorin.
Normally, the containers will reach Saudi Arabia from Tuticorin within 18-24 days. It is further necessary to keep ethylene filter and data card which will measure the level of heat inside the box. The purpose of keeping ethylene filter is to keep the fruits intact without ripening for a long time. The plantains will release ethylene gas which is only responsible for ripening. This ethylene filter will absorb this gas thereby not allowing the fruits to ripen.
The container should ensure 13* Celsius of the temperature inside. We will be able to know whether the temperature is sustained at the same level with the help of a data card through the computer. These two are very important for export. If these are neglected, the fruits will soon become stale and rotten. There are many exporters who have lost their money by not following the above process. In connection with this export, it is essential to obtain PQ (Plant Quarantine) certificate and Certificate of Origin from the Central Agricultural Ministry. It will be wise and better to get the consignment insured. Banana is procured at the price fixed by the Agricultural Marketing department.
Accordingly, a kilo of banana is being bought for Rs.10/- to Rs.15/- as the case may be and exported for Rs.30/- to Rs.35/- per kilo. In turn, these bananas are sold at Rs.60/- to 80/- in the countries which import from India. Apart from this, there is a huge demand for banana chips in European countries.
Nagaraj Veeraiah finally and candidly concludes that people like him are only intermediaries and if the producers themselves involve in export trade, they will be able to earn more profits. Whatever we export will be highly rewarding, provided the commodities are duly quality-assured. Nagaraj Veeraiah can be contacted at mobile No. 98840 81742
Salem Turmeric Market:
We spoke to Mr Jayakumar who is dealing in Turmeric in Salem Lee Bazaar. We are in this trade for 80 years and we deal in 3 varieties namely Virali (haldi) turmeric, round turmeric and panangali turmeric. Haldi turmeric is available in 3 varieties and Kasthuri turmeric is coming from Andhra. Normally Kasthuri turmeric is used for face creams but Salem round turmeric is also now used for this.
Turmeric arrives from Kalvarayan hills, Shervaroyan hills, Harur, Uttangarai, Aathur, Chinna Salem, Kallakurichi, Namagiripettai and Rasipuram from Feb to July. We also powder the turmeric for sale. The cultivation is happening in hilly areas and due to the red soil, the quality is also very good. This is why exporters prefer Salem turmeric in large quantities.
(This article was written in Tamil by K S Kamaludeen for Pasumai Vikatan magazine dated 10/01/19 has been transcreated in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)