Turmeric shortage till Jan

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The present turmeric shortage in Sri Lanka will continue for another three months, according to the Department of Export Agriculture (DEA).

Speaking to The Morning, DEA Director General Dr. A.P. Heenkenda said the shortage would last until the massive harvest scheduled to arrive in the market next January.

According to him, the country’s turmeric demand is 7,500 MT while the local production has been around 1,500 MT.

Currently, the importation of turmeric is banned as a result of the Covid-19 import restrictions put forward by the Government. However, the ban was described as a means to encourage local farmers to cultivate turmeric.

About 1,500 hectares of turmeric have been cultivated so far, the DEA Director General said, adding that by January 2021, they will yield a harvest of about 22,500 MT of raw turmeric.

He pointed out that even though 4,000 MT of the harvest will be set aside for seeding, the rest can meet the country’s turmeric demand.

The amount of turmeric imported in last year to meet the remaining requirement was 5,382 MT, which cost around Rs. 1 billion, Dr. Heenkenda said.

Sri Lanka will be self-sufficient in turmeric by 2021, he added.

Meanwhile, the Police recently found three containers with 33,000 kg of turmeric worth Rs. 110 million smuggled into the country.