Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a variety of turmeric named Pitambar, which gives better yield and has more percentage of commercially viable curcumin in Delhi on Monday. During the platinum jubilee celebrations of Council of Scientific and Industry Research (CSIR) Modi launched the tumeri. Around 200 farmers from the two Telugu states attended the programme through video conferencing at IICT, Tarnaka.
With Telangana being one of the largest producers of turmeric, farmers are willing to adopt the variety, said C Parthasarathi, principal secretary of Agriculture Marketing and Co-Operation department. The seed variety would be handed over to farmers next year. After launch of the variety, two farmers from Andhra Pradesh who interacted with PM Modi through video conference, said they would adopt the variety.
“The pharmaceutical importance of turmeric is due to its curcuminoids which are credited with anti-inflammatory, hypo-cholesterolemic, anti-oxidant, anti-parasitic, anti-spasmodic, anti-microbial, anti-rheumatic, anti-aging and anti-cancer properties,” a note said.
Since curcumin is the main molecule for the increasing demand of turmeric, several varieties of turmeric with increased curcumin content and rhizome biomass have been developed. While curcumin content in these varieties ranges from three to nine per cent, in the Pitambar variety, the percentage is around 12.5 per cent. Turmeric with high content of the chemical is preferred by European nations and North America.
“Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), a CSIR institute, did research for eight years to come out with the new variety. India produces 80 per cent of turmeric in the world. In the country, out of 4.5 lakh hectares where turmeric is cultivated, 1.30 lakh hectares is in Telangana,” Parthasarathi said after the PM launched the Pitambar variety.
He said “other varieties take around nine months for harvesting while Pitambar takes 180 to 190 days. Private industries which process turmeric will sell products at Spice Park in Nizamabad. After processing the products, export and sale value will be more if curcumin content is more. To establish a relationship between the Spice Park and produce, improved varieties from Tamil Nadu have been brought. If Pitambar variety is brought and 12 per cent curcumin containing turmeric is produced, the park will have a good future.”
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BY M. DIVYA SRI