Bengaluru: Remote tribal farmers, who are in the hilly Chintapalli region around 120km from the coastal city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, are taking up expansion in the cultivation of the local variety of turmeric, which has higher curcumin content, a key ingredient which is in high demand in the pharmaceutical industry.

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Around 2,000 tribal farmers in the region who have a total of approximately 1,000 acres are growing this crop with active support from the Government of Andhra Pradesh. The unique differentiation of this local variety is that this region’s turmeric comes with 5-7% curcumin content as compared to 3-4% which is in the regular turmeric.


Chintapalli region is part of the expansive and pristine Arakku valley region of Andhra Pradesh and the state government is putting in humongous efforts to support the tribal farmers of this region.


The farmers traditionally have been growing this variety of turmeric through the natural process and the soil here supports organic crops.


The AP Government has initiated the landmark Public-Private-Partnership for Integrated Agriculture Development (PPP-IAD) and Lawrencedale Agro Processing India (LEAF), India’s premier agriculture value-chain major, is one among the few farmer development companies which has been onboarded as part of this initiative. 


“We have been working with the government of Andhra Pradesh across various growing locations and we are excited to expand our scope to work with turmeric growers in the region of Chintapalli,” said Palat Vijayaraghavan, Founder & CEO, LEAF.


This turmeric variety with higher curcumin content is in high demand from the pharmaceutical sector and LEAF is in active discussions with them for establishing the value chain from the remote tribal belt of Andhra Pradesh.


“The regular turmeric crop is of one year, whereas the turmeric from the Chintapalli region comes once in two years. Due to the inherent nature and variety of this crop, the curcumin content is higher than the regular variety,” added Vijayaraghavan.


The volume of this crop is also considerably less at around 4-5 tonnes per acre as against the 15-16 tonnes of the regular variety. The regular variety is in high demand in the processed foods industry, while the high curcumin variety because of its inherent immunity boosters for human beings is in high demand in the pharmaceutical industries.


LEAF will engage with the tribal farmers comprehensively by improving the quality of the crop, even as it enables access to high quality plant protection and nutrition solutions besides also enabling access to organised credit for the tribal farmers.


“We have been working with thousands of marginal farmers across South India and have been striving to improve the livelihoods for the past decade and we are humbled that we are working in this much needed region of Chintapalli,” added Vijayaraghavan.