Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for turmeric estimated at 1.1 million metric tonnes in 2020, is projected to hit 1. 5 million metric tonnes by 2027 by ReportLinker, an international economic research report.
Such reports excite the Coordinator, Agribusiness & Youth Empowerment, Community of Agricultural Stakeholders of Nigeria, Sotonye Anga. He has never been tired of packing and labelling bags of tumeric. He was exposed to the business opportunities in tumeric exports in 2006. Since then, he not turned his back on the crop.
Anga not only export tumeric, he also takes it daily and he calls the fragrance the smell of success.
He is proud to tell anyone that tumeric brought him great fortune after he discovered a burgeoning market for spices in Nigeria and abroad.
Though used as a spice in foods as it adds a distinct yellow and flavour to any favourite curry, Anga noted that tumeric is receiving attention globally for its use in alternative medicine and as a super food, and researchers worldwide are studying its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Anga said the domestic and export demand for turmeric is rising because it is seen as an immunity-boosting product. Orders pour in from the Middle East, the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia. Exporters like him are exploring contracts to cater to Dubai, Malaysia, Iran, US and Europe market. He has seen importers demand turmeric because of its health benefits as they continue to push the use of turmeric in juices and immunity booting drinks in their domestic markets.
There are contracts for dry and fresh turmeric and demand has increased in the UK, and Europe.
Anga said tumeric is a money spinner, owing to its benefits. He said the increasing awareness concerning the benefits of consuming organic foods also is a major aspect that is contributing to the market growth at a decent rate.
With an increase in the demand for turmeric from western and Asian countries, Anga said there is a big opportunity for Nigerians eyeing emerging openings in turmeric exports.
Spice producers and firms, the meat and the sauce and condiments industries are the main users of turmeric. Retail chains, independent grocers, speciality shops, street markets and online retailers which fall under the banner of retailers also use turmeric.Turmeric is also used by the catering and food services sector, such as restaurants and hotels, with this being driven by the growing popularity of ethnic cuisine among European consumers.
Zion Market Research, a US-based research firm, said the global turmeric’s market is expected to grow at about 7.2 percent yearly between this year and 2026, following the increasing use as a colouring agent in the culinary.
To enter the European market for turmeric is the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI). Farmers are expected to meet the mandatory requirements set by the European Union (EU). The centre added that producers also consider meeting the common additional requirements that European buyers and niche markets have, as they will help one to enter the European market.
CBI said there are stringent requirements, including the European General Food Law, to meet. Aside this, it said maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) contaminants in food and that for microbiologicals in food, food hygiene are outlined in the EU’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.
The centre, which encourages imports from Africa, mentioned that there have been several registered food safety issues with turmeric’s market in the EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed that resulted in action being taken, including its seizure.
In recent years, the centre noted that there has been growing consumer awareness and demand for more environmentally-friendly products, and this trend is set to continue. This is why leading European buyers seek ethically-sourced ingredients, something which are likely to be more important in the future.
On quality, the centre said buyers in turmeric’s market are very particular about levels of curcumin contents and antioxidant activity. It noted: “European buyers seek turmeric with higher levels of curcumin content because it is connected to the anti-inflammatory activity of turmeric, which is important when formulating natural health products. Note that the percentage of curcumin in turmeric varies widely based on the geographical location, climate and growing conditions it is harvested and/or cultivated in, even within a country. Processing also influences the percentage of curcumin.”
It urged exporters of turmeric for natural health products to consider additional buyer requirements that demonstrate good quality. These include compliance with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP); having certification of a food management system based on HACCP; having Food Safety System (FSSC 22000), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 22000 and ISO 9001:2015, British Retail Consortium Global Standard for Food Safety (BRCGS) and International Food Safety (IFS) certification.
The other thing is that European buyers of turmeric request that exporters provide them with well-organised products and company documentation to if they meet their requirements.
In Europe, the centre added that there is demand for organic products. It said: “Many buyers are, therefore, demanding organic ingredients for their natural health products. As an exporter of turmeric, you should, therefore, consider getting organic certification. To market your natural ingredients as organic on the European market, you must meet European Union regulations. Ensure you have a Certification of Inspection (COI) that is up-to-date to with the latest changes made by the EU, which came into force on February 3, 2020. This is because it is a mandatory requirement of the EU if you want to trade organic turmeric on the European market.”
According to the centre, about 70 percent of turmeric in Europe is used by the food industry.
One of the key strengths of the Nigerian agricultural sector is its production of good quality turmeric, which contains high levels of curcumin with a strong smell and taste.
However, climate change is a key challenge the industry faces because it endangers turmeric’s market and cultivation.