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Spice Exports Soar to All Time High as Output Rises

Pepper, cardamom, chilli, ginger, turmeric, coriander, and cumin are the most widely produced and exported spices. Among these, the combined production of the last five constitutes approximately 76% of the total output.

Shivangi Rai
ICAR-AICRP's 34th annual group meeting on spices held last month identified four new spice varieties. (Photo: Freepik)
ICAR-AICRP's 34th annual group meeting on spices held last month identified four new spice varieties. (Photo: Freepik)

India's spice sector has demonstrated remarkable growth over the last two decades, with a 7% annual increase in production and a 4.4% annual expansion in the cultivation area from 2005-06 to 2020-21.

The data, shared by Dr D Prasath and Dr Sudheesh Kulkarni of the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Spices, reveals a rise in productivity from 1.63 to 2.5 tonnes per hectare during this period.

During 2021-22, India produced 111.2 lakh tonnes of spices across 43.8 lakh hectares, with Karnataka contributing 9.6 lakh tonnes from 4,27,180 hectares.

The key spices in focus are pepper, cardamom, chilli, ginger, turmeric, coriander, and cumin, with the last five constituting 76% of total production.

Highlighting data from the Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development, Kozhikode, and the Spices Board of India, researchers emphasize that spice exports hit an all-time high in 2020-21, experiencing a 30% growth in volume.

In 2021-22, India accounted for 1.5 million metric tonnes of global spice exports, amounting to US $4.102 billion, representing 43% in volume and 47% in value.

The 34th annual group meeting on spices organized by ICAR-AICRP identified four new spice varieties—Gujarat Ajwain-3, Hisar Kalonji-12, IISR Amrit (Mango Ginger), and Kamakhya 1 (black pepper)—as well as eight new technologies encompassing pest management, mixed cropping systems, and intercropping of spices with vegetables for cultivation.

As a part of strategies to enhance the production of marketable spices, researchers advocate for the development of spice varieties and technologies tailored for production and export. They propose the formulation of a comprehensive action plan to ensure food safety and sustainability at the grassroots level of spice production.

Furthermore, the adoption of high-tech processing technologies is recommended to meet evolving food safety standards in importing countries. The researchers stress the importance of training all stakeholders at various levels to contribute to the growth and sustainability of the spice sector.

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