Why Are We Missing The Familiar Jeera Flavour In Meals

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Why Are We Missing The Familiar Jeera Flavour In Meals

| Updated: November 24, 2023 19:00

If you miss the familiar flavour of cumin in everyday cooking, you may perhaps accept it as a reality of the times. It’s not that cumin, called Jeera, has lost its taste-enhancing attributes.

The cumin crop witnessed a 300% rise in rates this year, joining unaffordable tomatoes.  

According to media reports, the cumin crop sown in 2022-23 was slightly lower in Gujarat. India depends on Gujarat for the bulk of its cumin supply.

Secondly, reports claim that unexpected rain in March didn’t aid cumin production – as a consequence the price of 1 kg cumin rose to Rs 850 from Rs 250 earlier.

Only dry, moderately cold weather is suitable for the cultivation of jeera. Additionally, it is more vulnerable to illnesses like Alternaria blight, which can destroy the entire crop. 

Yet, water for irrigation is a concern this season, because while there was an overall surplus of rainfall in both Saurashtra-Kutch and western Rajasthan during the southwest monsoon season (June-September), a large portion of that rainfall fell in the first half of the season, The Indian Express reported. 

Since August, there hasn’t been much rain, which raises concerns about the availability of irrigation water for growing chana or wheat.

Even then, farmers have been planting more jeera, regardless of the high prices. 

The desperation could be gauged by the fact that farmers are lining up to buy jeera seeds, particularly the highly sought-after GC-4 (Gujarat Cumin-4) variety. The seed’s market value has skyrocketed to Rs 900 per kg from Rs 700 the previous year. 

More than 90% of India’s jeera production happens in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The Indian Express has reported that in 2022-23, Rajasthan reported jeera sowing in 6.59 lakh hectares (lh) and Gujarat in 2.75 lh, with a corresponding estimated production of 3 lakh tonnes (lt) and 2.14 lt respectively.

With jeera-sowing conditions far from ideal in Rajasthan and Gujarat, the yields of the crop aren’t the same anymore. And that shows in our meals.

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