Turmeric Growing in Uganda

Turmeric which is commonly known as the queen of spices falls under the ginger family and is widely grown across the world. Commonly known as ekinzaali, it is sold in different markets across the country including the popular Owino market.

At the moment India is the largest Turmeric growing country but Uganda has also picked up due to the demand of the spice on the market. Turmeric can be grown in a backyard garden, it can be grown in containers or you can go for the outdoor gardens.

turmeric uganda

It is a very lucrative business and the market is both local and international. Note that not so many farmers in the country grow turmeric as most of it is imported from India The reason as to why there is still low production on turmeric in the country is because of the low awareness among farmers about it and its benefits and the other reason is that it takes up to 9 months before harvesting.

Benefits of growing turmeric

  • It acts as an inflammatory and helps relieve arthritis
  • It can be used as a disinfectant

  • It prevents Alzheimer’s disease
  • It helps in regulating sugar levels

  • It also helps in reducing cholesterol in the body

  • It is used in cancer prevention

  • It is a natural antiseptic.

Turmeric can be sold in rhizomes or it can be turned to powder before it is sold on the market. Turning the Turmeric is quite easy and you will just need to follow the steps listed below:

  • Boil them for about 40 to 45 minutes

  • Put them in an oven or under the sun to dry

  • The last step after they are dry is to grind them into powder.

Note that if you want to make turmeric powder, you need to do this 2 t0 3 days after harvesting and do not over boil it as it will make the rhizomes brittle after drying.

turmeric powder uganda

Growing Turmeric

The first thing that you will look for while growing turmeric is the variety that you are planning to grow. There are various varieties that can be grown and these are:

  • Improved erode

  • Red streaked

  • Armour

  • China scented

  • The local turmeric

Turmeric needs enough water in order to grow. Irrigation normally depends on the season, for example during the dry season, irrigation should be heavy whereas during the rainy season irrigate them lightly.

After preparing the turmeric variety, the next step is to prepare the land. You can either use a tractor or a hand hoe to prepare the land depending on its size but you need to make sure that there is a spacing of 50cm between the beds and the beds should be at least 1m wide and 15cm in height. When the beds are ready, the next part is the planting. Both the mother and finger rhizome can be planted and they should at least have a bud. Place the whole rhizome into the ground and it starts germinating between 4 to 5 weeks with proper care.

The good thing about turmeric is that it can be intercropped with other crops like onions, millet, maize and ginger among others. Weeding of turmeric is done 3 to 5 times before harvesting. Turmeric can be grown on different types of soils but the best ones are the loamy and sandy soils and the best fertilizers are the organic ones.

turmeric growing uganda

Harvesting Turmeric

One of the best ways in telling whether the Turmeric is ready is by looking at the leaves. They always turn yellow and dry up when it is time for harvesting. Turmeric is ready for harvest between 7 to 9 months although this mainly depends on the variety. As you harvest, first cut off the leaves using a sharp object and then get a spade to lift the turmeric from under the ground. After getting them from the ground, wash them and separate the mother and finger rhizomes before the curing process starts.

There are two ways in which you can properly store the turmeric for the next planting season and these are digging a pit and placing them inside while using a wooden plank with holes in order to allow aeration. The second best way in which you can store them is by placing them under a tree that has shade and then cover with enough leaves from the turmeric plant.

Market for turmeric in Uganda

A kilogram of processed turmeric goes between shs4, 000 and shs6, 000. Although the market for Turmeric is still low, there is a chance that it will grow in the coming years especially after being processed. With its medicinal benefits, it is advisable that you go into turmeric farming because after 9 months, you will get to earn high yields and profits from the rhizomes before and after being processed.