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Ethiopia turmeric is highly adored by the locals for food spicing. Ethiopia turmeric export value stood at 0.98 dollars per kilogram in the year 2016. It’s characterized by thick leafy stems extending from its root-the roots which are orange-brown or deeply rust-colored color. Turmeric “Curcuma” was discovered approximately 4000 years ago in India where it was vastly used as a food spice and for religious purposes. It later spread to Asia, East Africa, West Africa, Jamaica in that order.
Extensive research undertaken on turmeric has revealed the product and its active compound curcumin it contains have several health benefits such as the prevention and even curing of cancer as well as heart and brain-related diseases. It also neutralizes Alzheimer’s, inflammation, symptoms of arthritis and acts as an antidepressant to name a few.
The varying forms of Ethiopia turmeric are:
• Raw turmeric-It is raw and unprocessed
• Ground powder
• Essential oil
• Turmeric paste
The fact that the plant is also known as the golden spice grows in warm, humid climates and temperatures above 60°F (29.8°C) has enabled it to thrive well in the agricultural south of Ethiopia which conforms to all those conditions.
Despite the plant’s prevalence in the southern region of the country, especially the Shewa Zone it is sourced from across Ethiopia due to the adaptation capability that has seen it grown everywhere.
Some farmers prefer intercropping it while others grow it as the only crop in pieces of land covering less than 1.5 hectares.
Farmers ensure they meet all the required standards while growing the plant.
This is made possible by the traditional cultivation practices they apply such as mulching during the seed-sowing, proper weed management during the early stages of the crop and the use of organic matter to improve yields.
Farmers harvest is harvested between 7-9 months after planting. After the leaves are partially dry and turn yellow. The family growers can usually pick the crop at least three months during the harvesting season. The method used in harvesting is strictly hand-picking supplemented by the use of spades that carefully lift the rhizomes from the soil
After harvesting it is washed thoroughly using water. The mother and finger rhizomes are then subjected to the curing process which involves boiling in water for a period not exceeding one hour, drying in the tropical sun for 10-15 and finally polishing.
However, in some cases, the turmeric is sourced as fresh fingers after washing and without necessarily being boiled or polished by the farmers. It is in such cases that more advanced curing methods of alkaline treatment in boiling pans that measure nine by 0.5 by 4 meters square are used. The process has enormous benefits as it foresees the curing of the turmeric in a bulk form of 50 kilograms at a time.
The Ethiopia turmeric is packed in double burlap gunny bags that are freshly bought for the purpose. The bags are not recycled due to the sensitivity of the spice to dirt and contamination. The new gunny bags are fumigated before putting in the dry form turmeric with each gunny bag coming with aluminium foil linings, which reduce the loss of the oil content in the seeds. For processing turmeric powder, fiberboard drums, as well as airtight tin packets that have polyurethane linings, are used to keep them in a fresh, unspoiled form. Ethiopia turmeric is stored in a cool, dry place. Locals usually put them in pits which are covered with dry grass to give them high-temperature storage, usually even above 60° Celsius, to keep away the insects.
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