Rituparna Chatterjee – Mumbai
Food safety, sustainability and traceability have evolved as the buzzwords in the world spice arena with major importing companies coming up with stringent quality and food safety standards for import of spices. To cater to this demanding market, the Spices Board India, ministry of commerce & industry, Government of India has taken various initiatives that has positioned the country as an international processing hub and premier supplier of quality spices and herbs. The initiative includes – setting up of spice parks at major spice production centres; establishing Quality Evaluation Labs (QEL) at major ports for quality assessment of spices exported; promoting non-conventional application of spices like spice garments, cosmeceuticals, nutraceuticals, spice chocolates; promoting organic cultivation especially in north east region; promoting processed, value added, branded and innovative products through Brand India Campaign; setting up CODEX committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) for formulation of international standards for spices and culinary herbs; carrying out capacity building exercise among various stakeholders under Collaborative Training Centre (CTC) jointly with CII- FACE, JIFSAN and USFDA; setting up of Spices India signature stalls in India and across.
Dr A Jayathilak
Speaking exclusively to Food & Hospitality World, Dr A Jayathilak, IAS, chairman, Spices Board stated, “As a result of the Spices Board India’s focused initiatives for export promotion of spices, in 2012-13, India exported 726,613 tonnes of spices and spice products valued at Rs 12112 crore as against an export of 470,520 tonnes valued at Rs 5300 crore in 2008-09.” The major importers of Indian spices are North, Central and South American countries, which consumes approximately 22 per cent of the total spice exports. EU comes second with an 18 per cent share.
Among the various spices exported by India, the demand for chilli has been on a constant rise. “After the implementation of the mandatory sampling and testing for export, India became the only source of quality chilli in the world market and the export of chilli is on a constant rise. Currently, India is exporting more than three lakh tonnes of chilli, which contributes 41 per cent in terms of total volume of spices exported from the country,” he added. Over the last five years, chilli remained as the most exported spice from India in terms of volume, while mint and mint products turned out to be the top exported spice in terms of value.