Vijayawada: With the outbreak of the dreaded Covid-19, there is a huge demand for turmeric grown in the tribal pockets of Visakhapatnam. The turmeric is believed to beef up immunity and also act as a nutritional supplement.

The Andhra Pradesh government has hence decided to procure huge quantity of the turmeric from the tribal areas of Visakhapatnam district. Curcumin, one of the main active ingredients in turmeric for its anti-inflammatory effects, is a very strong antioxidant. The pharma sector is chalking out plans to manufacture immunity boosters from the turmeric.

Scientist of the Horticulture Research Station at Chintapalli in Vizag Agency, Dr V. Siva Kumar said that tribals in the region grow turmeric in over 11,000 hectares. “The turmeric grown her has over 6.5 percent of Curcumin, which is in high demand in the pharma industry to manufacture immunity boosters,” he added.

The doctors also said that turmeric, the most popular herb in Ayurveda, can be used on a daily basis to build immunity, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic. Raw turmeric is often used with hot milk to help the respiratory system.

In the agency areas, turmeric is an annual crop which is put up for sale between March and May. Around eight tonnes of turmeric is grown per hectare in the region. The maximum price of the best quality raw turmeric is Rs 150 per kilogram, Mr Kumar said.

Project officer of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Paderu, D.K. Balaji said, “Permission has been given for the sale and procurement of turmeric in a few areas of Vizag agency.”

Some nutrition experts have also underlined the need to procure the turmeric on a war footing to manufacture Curcumin based medicines.

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