India’s turmeric production could decline to 10.26 lakh tonnes (lt) during the 2023-24 season (October-September) but the price of “golden spice” could average around ₹12,500 a quintal over the next six months, the Global Turmeric Conference 2023 was told on Wednesday.

“Turmeric prices had increased to ₹17,000 from ₹6,000 a quintal (over the last few months). From there, the 61 per cent mark is ₹11,000. For turmeric, ₹10,500 could prove to be a crucial support,” said Nagaraj Meda, Founder and Managing Director, Transgraph Consulting. 

He was making a presentation on turmeric prices at the conference, organised by NCDEX Institute of Commodity Markets and Research (NICR) and Tefla’s. Currently, the December futures on NCDEX are ruling at ₹13,636 a quintal, while spot prices at Nizamabad are quoting at ₹12,595. 

The bullish run in turmeric was fast and prices had run up to ₹17,000 quickly. Prices have begun retracting since then and the next support level is ₹10,500. From here, they could rise to ₹14,500 but may not be able to rise further, Meda said.

Output seen down

Dwelling on the fundamentals, he said the area under turmeric has dropped 11 per cent to 2.86 lakh hectares (lh) as farmers have shifted to other crops such as sugarcane, chilli and maize (corn). 

“Consistent price for a commodity is important, but over the past three years turmeric prices have been subdued,” the Transgraph Consulting founder said. 

In view of the area under turmeric being lower, production will likely drop to 10.26 lakh tonnes (lt) next season, while the carryover stock may drop to 4.23 lt from 5.25 lt this season. “However, the historical level of stocks is still higher,” Meda said. 

During El Nino years, turmeric production has tended to drop 10-15 per cent. The crop’s yield could be affected in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu as heavy rainfall has been predicted during October-December. 

He said arrivals during February-April this season were lower as farmers had stored their produce in cold storages in view of lower prices. 

The conference’s various sessions called for increasing production and yield, releasing new varieties through tissue culture and catering the export market better with pesticide-residue free produce.

Later at a session on “Managing price volatility and information system”, Dinesh Somani, Pro IntelliTrade Services LLP said turmeric prices may not drop below ₹9,800 and could rise to as high as ₹23,600. 

Narinder Wadhwa, President, Commodities Participants Association of India, said farmers could go in for “put options” to lock in the minimum prices they are looking to earn.

Turmeric Board

Earlier inaugurating the conference, Hemant Patil, Member of Parliament representing the Hingoli constituency in Maharashtra’s Nanded district, called for the setting up of a separate turmeric board. 

“We have been trying to get the board set up, but have been unable to succeed,” he said, adding that however, the Maharashtra government has allocated ₹100 crore for the setting up of Balasaheb Thackeray Research and Training Centre at Hingoli. 

Stressing the need to develop higher yielding varieties through tissue culture, the member of Parliament said the Maharashtra government has cleared a proposal to set up a multi-modal infrastructure Park near the centre.

In a session on “Exploring opportunities in turmeric production, marketing and international trade”, experts called for producing turmeric that is free of chemical residues through good agricultural practices.

Horticulture Commissioner of India Prabhat Kumar, addressing the session on “Spicing up infrastructure investments”, expressed concern over lower yield in Maharashtra despite the State emerging as the largest producer.

He urged growers to take advantage of various schemes of the Centre to improve productivity and quality to meet the growing demand in domestic and global markets. 

During the event, NCDEX Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Arun Raste signed a memorandum of understanding with Hemant Patil for the exchange to help the Thackeray Research and Training Centre in pricing, warehousing and meeting quality specifications in turmeric. 

(The writer was at the conference on the invitation of NCDEX)