Indian spices export is on course to touch $3 billion by 2016-17

KOCHI: Indian spices export is on course to touch $3 billion by 2016-17. Piggybacking on the good performance of mint, chilli and seed spices, spices shipments have shown 41% increase in rupee value and 27% rise in volumes for the nine months ended December 31, 2013. "The steady growth of spice exports reiterates the unshaken global demand for Indian spices. Spices appear to be recession -proof as it has grown by 20% in value and 10% in volumes over the last decade," said Spices Board chairman Dr A Jayathilak.

 A total of 5,71,680 tonnes of spices valued at Rs 9,433 crore were exported during the nine months. In the same period of previous year, the shipments touched 4,49,926 tonne worth Rs 6,696 crore. Dr Jayathilak said currently 92% of the target in terms of volume and 91% in terms of value set for spices exports during 2012-13 have been achieved.

Mint and mint products including mint oils, menthol and menthol crystals topped the list of spices exports with a turnover of Rs 2202 crore and 17,850 tonnes in volume. Chilli at 2,05,500 tonnes netted Rs 1,846 crore. Among the seed spices cumin or jeera registered an increase of 89% in volume and 83% in value with a total export of 96,500 tonnes valued at Rs 1282 crore. Export of pepper, cardamom and value added products like spice oils and oleoresins too have done well.

Spices Board, Dr Jayathilak said is promoting organic cultivation in line with the global trend, especially in north east region where the soil is virgin as far as spice farming is concerned. Through a brand India campaign, the board is planning promotion of processed, value added, branded and innovative products as at present the value addition in the total export is limited. Setting up a series of spice parks at different places is part of the strategy to raise value addition in spice.

Besides strengthening laboratory and testing facilities for exports, the board is planning new initiatives for domestic promotion of cardamom and revamp of cardamom marketing system. He said there is a need to promote non-culinary uses of spices as world over there is increasing focus on non-traditional application of spices as health foods, cosmetics, nutraceuticals , medicinal properties etc.

The board, he said, is in discussion with leading chocolate manufacturers for marketing the spice flavoured chocolates it has developed. In 2012-13, a total of 6,99,170 tonnes of spices valued at Rs 11,171 crore ($2.04 billion) were exported.

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