ASSOCHAM felicitates eminent players of the spice sector; Launches study report on Local to Global in Association with NABARD

New Delhi: The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, one of the apex trade associations of India today felicitated key players in the spice industry for their contribution in the manufacturing excellence and outstanding entrepreneurship at a global webinar – Local to Global –Spices of India and Excellence awards.

The Lifetime achievement award was conferred upon P C Kannan & CO, while the technology innovation for spices sector award was given to Dr Balu Maliakel, director, Akay Natural Ingredients Pvt Limited. Other players who were felicitated were Mr Vinay Budhiraja, Director of Paras Spices. ASSOCHAM also recognised the role of four players with the Special appreciation to young leaders’ award. They were JBL Spices which were conferred with the Promising Women Entrepreneur Award, Jalaram Agri Export with Recognition of export commitments, Naturalies Agro Export with the Young Entrepreneur of the year Award and Griffith Foods for the Excellence in CSR activities.

The Chief Guest of the event, Shri Kailash Choudhary, Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India stated that since ancient times, India has been an important player in spices globally. “Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the demand for Indian spices has gone up exponentially due to its medicinal value and to boost one’s immunity. The Government of India too has been taking active steps to promote the same,” he said.

Shri Choudhary explained that the central government has spent almost Rs 1 lakh crore to create the agriculture infrastructure. “The government is also giving out loans worth Rs 3 crore without any collateral to smaller businesses in this space. The rate of Interest is almost 3 percent lower and the borrower has to repay the money over a period of seven years. The money is again given to other businesses on rotation thus creating additional job opportunities,” He pointed out.

According to the honourable Minister, the central government’s initiative –One Nation, One market will go a long way in helping the farmers. “Earlier farmers were forced to sell their produce at the market in their same vicinity. After the new scheme, they are free to sell it off anywhere in the country. This would ensure that they would get a proper price for their produce and at the same time would also attract investments in the agriculture sector from the private players,” he added.

He informed that the Local to Global initiative would also ensure the doubling of farm incomes by the year 2022.

The Guest of Honour for the event, Shri Tage Taki, Minister of Agriculture and Horticulture, AH & Vety, Dairy Development, Fisheries, Government of Arunachal Pradesh stated that India is the house of spices since time immemorial.

“Demand for India spices is due to its aroma, taste and medicinal value. Spices are one of the natural contributors to India’s export kitty and a major source of income to the country. Today spice contributes around 4% to the country’s GDP. Its prominence in recent times have gone up due to array of activities due to new technologies in the field of spice,” he said

Shri Tagi informed that Arunachal Pradesh has been taking several steps to streamline the production of spices like large cardamom, turmeric, ginger and chili. “Last year, we managed to export 5020 MT spice with a value of Rs 2489 lakhs. In the next 5-6 years, we aim to double the production of large cardamom,” he said.

He explained that there are several challenges which the government is trying to address. “There are severe price fluctuations. A price of a spice which was trading at almost Rs 1200- Rs 1300 per kg has now come down to Rs 400-450 per kg. This is not due to demand supply mismatch but due to the manipulation of the middle men. This is going to be addressed,” he pointed out.

He explained that the state is also taking steps to promote the cultivation of organically grown spices. “While it is not possible to cultivate everything organically at the same time, we are doing it in phases. Almost 5000 hectares of land consciously has been brought under organic farming. Another 5000 hectares have already been identified for a similar kind of a process. All new farmers are already doing organic farming,” he said.

Sanjeev Bhist, Business Head Spices at ITC Limited explained that there is a need to customise global supply chains amid the changing food safety norms.

“There is a need for community farming to enhance productivity. At the moment a majority of the farmers have a farm size of around 1-2 hectares. You need to combine the farms to gain the advantage of technology intervention and increase the farm productivity,” he pointed out.

Nitin Puri, Senior President & Global Head- Food & Agri Strategic Advisory & Research, Yes Bank explained that India at the moment exports almost a million tonnes of spices valued at around $3billion.

“However if we are to look at doubling or even tripling the value in the next 5-6 years, we need to address the supply chain and the quality issues,” he said.

Gulshan John, managing director, Nedspice added that since the last several years, the importing country’s norms have become quite stringent. “The industry needs to work closely with the farmers and handhold them to enhance the quality of the produce,” He said.

He stated that there are almost 15- 20 companies today who are actively working with almost 20000 farmers in Rajasthan due to which the quality of the cumin produced is of international standard and sold at a premium.

Dr P S Sreekantan Thampi, Consultant – Sustainable initiatives at World Spice Organisation stated that there is a huge shortfall of skilled workforce in the agriculture sector today.

“These things need to be addressed today. Currently, we have labourers coming in from states like Bihar to work in farms of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. There is an urgent need to update this workforce in terms of skilling and knowledge to increase the farm productivity,” he pointed out.

Dr Gopal Lal, Director, National Research Centre on Seed Spices explained that in recent times, there has been an increased production in seed spices. “Today seed spices are grown in an area spread across 18 lakh hectares, 80 percent out of which is done in Rajasthan itself,” he said.

Dr Lal explained that there is a need to create awareness among the farmers as to how to get the quality of the seeds and the use of pesticides. “The farmers need to be educated as to the effective use of pesticides. The timing of the last spray is important for the farmer,” he said.

 

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