Clamour for fixing turmeric MSP grows louder

Special task force committee, MP pass resolution seeking Centre’s help, separate board for turmeric

A resolution urging the Centre to ensure minimum support price for turmeric was unanimously passed here on Wednesday during a meeting of the Turmeric Special Task Force Committee comprising officials from spices board, horticulture and agriculture departments from nine States and teaching faculty from different universities in the country, representatives from turmeric associations and growers.

Member of Parliament D. Arvind, who attended as the chief guest, played a key role in passing of the resolution. A majority of delegates including officials and un-officials unanimously supported his proposal for the establishment of an exclusive board for turmeric, separating it from the list of 52 substances.

‘Historic blunder’

In his opening remarks, he opined that the then Congress government had made a historic blunder by including turmeric in Spices Board when it was established in 1987. Turmeric was not only a ingredient used in food items but also a medicinal substance, he said.

That government lacked the knowledge then, he added and sought to know why coconut was not included when it was also used as an ingredient in curries and other food items. How then was coconut removed from the Spices Board and a separate board set up for it in 1981, he asked.

Mr. Arvind said that while Congress leaders in Kerala had achieved separate boards for spices and coconut, the same party leaders in combined State of Andhra Pradesh failed to get an exclusive board for turmeric. Despite having a board for MSP, coconut exports did not exceed ₹2,000 crore but with no board or MSP for turmeric, its exports surpassed ₹1,200 crore. Thus, turmeric crop was subjected to gross neglect in the past 32 years, he pointed out.

“A tiny country like Vietnam which imported technical knowhow from us on turmeric has come to a position of exporting turmeric worth about ₹320 crore to us. Is it not a shameful matter for us? Turmeric is used in medicines for treatment of Alzheimer’s, various types of cancers, tuberculosis and other diseases. Since we use turmeric in curries, the incidence of colon cancer in our country is low,” Mr. Arvind said.

Neglected crop

Other speakers at the meeting felt that the crop was totally neglected due to lack of awareness among farmers and quality in seed and marketing facilities. They also emphasised the need for promoting mechanisation in its processing, cultivation in accordance to the demand, research to improve curcumin and building cold storages.

Spices Board director A.B. Remashree, deputy director G. Lingappa and DASD director Homey Cherian were among those who participated in the meeting.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 11:54:18 PM |

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