Farming Black Turmeric – Karumanjal / Nalla Pasupu / Kali Haldi

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The Kali Haldi or Karumanjal as it’s called in Kerala is one of the few species with medicinal value. In the family of curcumin, Black turmeric is known for its medicinal value. It is not consumed as a food and is not included in cuisine in India. Unlike normal Turmeric, Black turmeric has a completely different market. It is not sold in mandi or markets. The general public and normal people do not purchase this product and it’s never seen in supermarkets.

Black turmeric is specifically used in ayurvedic medicines and only in ayurvedic medicine. This creates a very niche market and the buyers are very limited. It is important to know where Black Turmeric is sold before you consider cultivating. There are also other concerns about cultivating black turmeric. To begin with, the seeds are scares and they are also expensive. While growing black turmeric is very similar to cultivating turmeric, there is no concern about the techniques, soil condition, weather, or other issues. Black turmeric has to be from pesticides and chemical fertilizers though for it to be used in the ayurvedic medicine industry.

Profiting from Black turmeric 

There are a few concerns to be addressed before you cultivate black turmeric. Let us take it to step by step

  1. Black turmeric is expensive. The cost of one kg of Black turmeric is approximately Rs 700 at the time of writing this article. You would require at least 300 kilos of seeds per acre. The total cost would be around 2.1 Lakh in just seed.
  2. Limited market. Unlike many grocery items, black turmeric is not purchased in its raw form or powdered form in supermarkets or grocery stores. They are not sold in mandi and the price is not dictated by the government. 
  3. Fluctuating price. The price for Black turmeric is very high but if you do not find the right seller or if you do not have the right quality product, you would end up selling at a lot lesser price than you would want to. Chances of loss if cultivated with pesticides and chemical fertilizers are much higher. Also, the plant is susceptible to a range of diseases, the same as normal turmeric
  4. Limited buyers. The only buyers are ayurvedic medicine manufacturers. Though they claim to purchase the product from you, the chances of them not purchasing the product or dropping the price to a low is much higher. Finding an alternative buyer is also hard.
  5. Flooded market Possibility. Recently a lot of interest has been shown on black turmeric as a product and many farmers are jumping into the opportunity to cultivate the product. Unfortunately, the product has very limited use, and sooner than later people will flood the market with black turmeric and drop the price to a low. Since the product cannot be sold in a mandi and has no general use, most farmers may incur a loss if there is no buyer and the price is not fixed.
  6. Demand: Prices are dependent on demand. The demand for black turmeric is moderate to high at the moment. This is a temporary phase and is due to the lack of commercial production in the country. The current demand will fade over time with more people cultivating the produce. Nevertheless, with the current trend, it will take at least 3-4 years before the market for black turmeric will stagnate and prices start to reduce drastically. 

Staying on the positive side and hoping that all goes well if the price for black turmeric is steady for the next few years and stays at 700 rs per kilo, chances are you will earn a decent profit of approximately 13 Lakh rs per acre per year.

The calculations are very simple 

Land Preparation15000
Compost and Farm Yard Manure45000
Labour 25000
Manual Weeding 4 times 40000
Irrigation5000
Mulching 20000
Seeds Cost210000
Harvesting Cost 30000
Miscellaneous10000
Total Expense 4,00,000
Average Yield Per acre2500 KG
Value of product17,50,000
Profit13,50,000

As you may have noticed, the prices are exorbitant. At the price of 700 Rs per kilo, there are few buyers. Even if you do assume the cost of Rs 300 Per KG, you will still make a profit of 

3,50,000 Assuming you did buy the seed at Rs 700 per kilo. 

There is no question about the profitability of the product if you get a buyer. The challenge in cultivating black turmeric is the buyer. 

Black turmeric Buyers

So who exactly will buy this product. 

  1. Manufacturers of Ayurvedic medicine: Black turmeric is used to cure a range of diseases from joint pains to snake bites. They are useful for fat loss and aid healthy weight loss. Focus on contacting all Vendors before you start cultivating black turmeric. Find contact details and get in touch with these vendors. Find out the quality they require, The quantity they purchase per year, and the price. Contact at least 2-3 companies and have a backup plan
  2. Traders and exporters: black turmeric has a market abroad too. If You can find a buyer abroad, chances are you will get a good price if the product meets their expectation. Chances are you may be able to sell the produce at a better price than what’s sold locally. Local traders too are a good option. Agents purchase black turmeric for a small percentage as commission. Fortunately, they will be interested in selling the produce at a better price as it is a percentage commission involved. 
  3. Selling seeds. When you cannot find a market immediately, there is always a possibility of selling seeds to other farmers. Plenty of farmers has the resources to sell the product and have buyers near them. Finding seeds are a challenge for these farmers and selling the seeds to these farmers is a good way to profit from the produce.