A new variety of turmeric which is resistant to diseases and high in yield with better curcumin content has been developed by Navsari Agriculture University.

The variety, known as NAU Turmeric 1, was developed by the Department of Botany, under the guidance of its Prof P. S. Vashi.

“We have been doing research over the last six years to come out with a variety of turmeric which can be grown in heavy rainfall region like south Gujarat, where there are problems of water—logging,” Prof Vashi told PTI.

He said that the farmers of south Gujarat have been complaining about the problem of rot in Rhizome (horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground) due to which the collar region of the pseudostem of turmeric plant becomes soft and water soaked, resulting in collapse of the plant and decay of rhizomes.

“The NAU Turmeric 1 is resistant to Rhizome rot which is most common problem faced by the farmers in South Gujarat. The farmers here are using Sugandam and kesar variety of turmeric which are susceptible to Rhizome rot,” he said.

Prof. Vashi said that yield and curcumin content of the NAU Turmeric 1 was better than local Sugandam variety.

“The new variety has a yield of 35-40 tonnes per hectare while the traditional Sugandham variety has yield of 15—20 tonnes per hectare. Also the curcumin, content which determines the quality of turmeric, is also better in NAU Turmeric 1,” Dr. Vashi said.

Curcumin, an active component of turmeric is a yellow pigment that has been isolated from the ground rhizome part of the plant.

Dr. Vashi said that the NAU turmeric 1 could be identified easily as it has darker and broader leaves than the Sughandham variety.

“We than zeroed in on germplasm from Dingraj region of Maharashtra, which showed resistance to diseases common in south Gujarat. We then used it to develop the NAU Turmeric 1 variety,” Dr. Vashi said adding that they have conducted field trials for over two years in south Gujarat and Anand district of central Gujarat region.

Dr. Vashi said that the seeds of the new variety would be available for the farmers from next year. India is a leading producer and exporter of turmeric in the world.