While inaugurating National Conference on Development and Export of Spices in Pusa campus, New Delhi, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, “Concerted efforts are needed to produce clean spices at competitive prices in order to sustain India’s share in world market. Spice farmers have been facing the problem of low productivity, fluctuating prices coupled with biotic and abiotic stress resulting in low farm income.” However, he added ,efforts of diversification, unfolding of nutraceutical and health benefit of spices and farming system models have provided better opportunity for improving income from spices.
Singh said that ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research, Calicut and National Research Centre on Seed Spices, Ajmer have pioneered in developing a number of high yielding varieties and production technologies.
The minister said that Spices Board under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry has been spearheading activities for excellence of Indian spices with respect to quality and hygiene of high level. The board functions as an important link between the Indian exporters and the importers abroad and supports Indian spices brand building amongst the importing countries which is really needed to realize the slogan of Brand India and Make in India, he added.
Referring to India’s status in world spice trade, Singh said that the export earnings showed a spectacular growth during the period from 2005-06 to 2013-14 as the earning increased from 592.9 million US $ to 2267.67 million US $. The volume of spices exported increased from 350,363 metric tons in 2005-06 to 817,250 metric tons in 2013-14.
He further said that spices have been playing an important role in the Indian agrarian economy as it accounts for 5% of the agriculture GDP of the country. The agro-climatic conditions in the country provide an ideal habitat for the natural growth of various spices. There is a long list of 75 spices grown in India but chillies, black pepper, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, saffron and cumin are commercially more important. Singh said that today, India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices in the world.