Turmeric is grown in wet and intermediate zones of Sri Lanka as a mono-crop and an intercrop under coconut. Major growing districts are Kurunegala, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy Matale and Ampara districts.
Though there are a number of locally grown varieties they are not specially identified. There are imported varieties namely, Gunter, Puna and Madurasi Majal. and they have been mixed with local varieties.
The government spent 1.2 billion Sri Lankan rupees (about $6.4 million) on turmeric imports in 2019. In 2020, under the ban, the country didn’t import any.
Sri Lanka needs to produce about 6,000 metric tons of turmeric a year to meet its own needs, but it currently produces a third of that amount. The government is actively encouraging the planting of Turmeric crops to reduce dependency on imports.
The demand for turmeric has increased many folds since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has been mainly due to the banning of imports and also the use of turmeric as medicine and disinfectant in native medicine and home use.
Turmeric will be introduced as an inter-crop in suitable parts of the coconut plantation. Targeted cultivation area is 5 acres for turmeric.