Turmeric powder in Sri Lanka became the talk of the town as the government imposed a ban on Turmeric imports. As a matter of fact, they did this to boost local production and help farmers. Nevertheless, the scarcity of Turmeric powder in Sri Lanka has created a storm in local kitchens. Owing to the imposed ban, the price of turmeric powder has skyrocketed to unimaginable levels in the Sri Lankan market.
Lack of Turmeric powder in Sri Lanka: A political debate
Sri Lanka also produces Turmeric, however, it is not sufficient to cater to the local demand. Hence, wholesale used to traders import Turmeric from India. By all means, the ban on imports has badly affected the farmers and merchants in India. To begin with, Turmeric is produced in mass quantities in Erode, India.
As per the statistics available, Sri Lanka imported nearly 7,500 tonnes of Turmeric from Erode, yearly. Henceforth, the ban on imports of Turmeric has created a subject of political debate locally and in India. Meanwhile, the Erode Turmeric growers have urged the Indian government to intervene to revive the trade. Also, in Sri Lanka, the opposition parties voiced their concerns as there was a scarcity of Turmeric powder.
Many would agree that the government banned Turmeric imports with good intentions. Straightaway, this has borne fruit as local farmers have since given added impetus to cultivating local Turmeric as a serious cash crop.
Has the ban on turmeric imports borne fruit?
In Mannar, gnarled knubs of turmeric have become the salvation of farmers. Here, farmers grow coffee and, alongside it, have recently added the ginger-looking plant, turmeric. Moreover, this stretch of the country’s far north, filled with jackfruit trees and rice fields, dries up annually due to drought. Uniquely, the green sprouts of earthy, fresh turmeric are ideal for this temperate zone and thrive in shady areas. More and more farmers are showing interest in cultivation due to a shortage of turmeric in the grocery stores. Without a doubt, it is likely to become a cottage industry in the future.
The ban on turmeric imports has spurred interest among amateur gardeners in cultivating turmeric. Notably, the ban has also sparked a shortage that has fueled smuggling and driven up prices of the prized plant. By all means, the pandemic has made turmeric even more desirable. Similarly, unknown to many, rural Sri Lankans use its vibrant orange root as a home remedy to boost the immune system and ward off illness. Regardless, the government’s attempt to turn it into a cash crop is meeting with a daunting reality as turmeric farmers can’t keep up with demand. This has resulted in Sri Lanka scrambling for turmeric.
Major Growing Areas of Turmeric powder in Sri Lanka
Turmeric is grown in wet and intermediate zones as a single-crop and as an intercrop under coconut trees. Until now, major growing districts are Kurunegala, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Matale and Ampara. Turmeric powder is produced using high-quality Turmeric tubers. Once the Turmeric tubers are boiled and sun-dried they are taken to mills. Subsequently, they are grinded in mills, specially made for the grinding of turmeric tubers.
Turmeric powder in Sri Lanka: Ayurveda & Medicinal uses
Turmeric is commonly used in Ayurveda to purify the blood and to treat skin conditions. It is a powerful, anti-inflammatory agent, comparable to pharmaceutical medicines. To emphasize, it is also anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-tumour, and anti-allergic. Additionally, external application of Turmeric in paste form stops pain and swelling and speeds up the healing process of wounds.
Similarly, Turmeric is an important medicine in Ayurvedic treatment of diabetes. Consumption of Turmeric is known to lower blood sugar levels. Moreover, Turmeric is also extremely useful in preventing liver disease and rebuilding the liver. Notably, Turmeric contains curcumin, the healing substance which supplies its vibrant colour
The Historical significance of Turmeric
It is believed the use of Turmeric dates back nearly 5000 years to the Vedic culture in India, where it was used as a culinary spice. Also, Turmeric has had some religious significance attached to it. In like manner, because Turmeric is yellow, it is said that Turmeric was used to dye monk’s robes, string, and clothes. Not to mention, in Indian culture, the importance of turmeric goes far beyond medicine. At the same time, the Hindu religion sees turmeric as auspicious and sacred.
Using Turmeric powder in Sri Lanka for cooking
Turmeric powder is a key spice in Sri Lankan cuisines, has been so ever-present in Sri Lanka. It is hard to imagine it would feature in a black market. Consequently, Turmeric powder is used in many spice blends, such as basic curry powder, where it is always on the ingredient list. When the blend has a yellow colour, it is most often due to Turmeric.
The flavour of turmeric powder is described, as a little bitter, a little peppery like mustard with a slight ginger flavour. Uniquely, it’s most often used, for colouring more than for the flavour. Turmeric powder is used, to colour vegetables, meat, fish curries, rice and sauces. Moreover, if you leave it out of a recipe, you may not notice much change in flavour, but the dish won’t be as golden as desired.
Buying Turmeric powder in Sri Lanka from Kapruka
Due to the scarcity of Turmeric in the market, the prices are generally, inflated. This is so whether you buy online, from a supermarket or in the street markets. The fact remains Turmeric powder is hardly available in Supermarkets at the moment. Whereas, in street markets, Turmeric is mostly sold, in raw form as Turmeric tubers. Consequently, due to the scarcity, many unscrupulous traders have adulterated Turmeric and mixed it with other substances. Henceforth, customers should be aware of this when buying Turmeric powder in Sri Lanka.
However, if you venture online, you can find high-quality organic Turmeric powder at www.kapruka.com. Genuine Turmeric powder from Kapruka is the best Turmeric you can obtain in the market. The Turmeric powder available at Kapruka is not mixed, with any substance, and the quality is guaranteed.
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In Sri Lankan cuisine, a pinch of Turmeric powder brings the gold colour to the gravy. Turmeric powder is valued in every Sri Lankan kitchen for its subtle flavour, distinct yellow colour and powerful aroma. Of course, it’s hard to imagine cooking favourite Sri Lankan curries without using Turmeric powder. Likewise, the influence of Turmeric powder in Sri Lanka is such that it was a subject of debate in the most zenith body in Sri Lanka, the parliament.