By Zablon Oyugi
Despite the lucrative returns of over Ksh500,0000 from half-an-acre, turmeric is not as widely grown by Kenyan farmers as other high- value crops in the medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) family.
A native Indian spice, the yellow root, often referred to as the golden spice of life, which looks like garlic is, however, spreading its roots in East Africa, with Uganda taking the lead.
According to Mr Oliver Ndegwa, the CEO and lead technical engineer at Agrotunnel International, a company promoting turmeric farming, there has been little uptake of the crop due to an information gap.
“We import most of the turmeric consumed in the country because farmers lack information and quality seeds despite the huge local and international market,” he says.
Mr Ndegwa, who has been mobilising farmers to grow the crop, notes that most farmers are either unaware of the crop or are put off by its long, eight-month growth period.
He promotes turmeric cultivation having personally experienced the crop’s curative nature.
“Last year, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and put on medication for life. It was expensive at Ksh10,000 monthly,” he recalls.
After taking the drugs for some time, he says, he realised that they were largely made from turmeric and decided to eat turmeric and drink its concoction.
A year later, his high blood pressure was gone, replaced with the idea of growing the crop.
Download magazine from this link to read more on https://smartfarmerkenya.com/sdm_downloads/issue-47/ ; How to grow tumeric, Land preparation, selecting plant material and much more.