Turmeric research at NRCRI Umudike: highlight of major achievements
Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) a member of ginger family Zingiberaceae, is a cross-pollinated triploid (2n =3x = 63); vegetatively propagated by means of yellow fleshed rhizomes; and widely used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Owing to its numerous uses, National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike began research on turmeric in 1998. This paper highlights the major achievements from almost two decades of turmeric research at NRCRI Umudike. NRCRI pioneered collection of germplasm and indigenous knowledge about the production and utilization of Turmeric. 76 accessions of Turmeric were collected from several expeditions. The highest number of collections (12) was from Ekiti State. Following multi-locational evaluation at Jos, Otobi, Umudike and Igbariam, ten genotypes, viz., UT39, UT44, UT46, UT58, UT50, UT14, UT41, UT6, UT38 and UT35, were identified as promising and require further evaluation as pre-condition for official registration and release to farmers. The proximate composition and potential use of turmeric as food colourants have been established. Agronomic management packages for optimal yield of turmeric have been developed by NRCRI Umudike. Results of economic studies carried out at NRCRI Umudike revealed high profitability of turmeric production with returns per naira (R/N) being N233.90, Net income N326, 918.22 and benefit cost ratio (RCR) of 3.3. Value added products like turmeric powder, have been developed. These and high quality planting materials are being produced and their production technologies extended to farmers and other end users.
Keywords: Expedition, Evaluation, proximate composition, economic studies and value addition