India’s spice exports see uptick as supply-chain bottlenecks ease, Covid pandemic wanes – Blue Barrows

Spice exports from the country, which has dropped by close to 5 per cent in the first five months of FY23, has been on an uptick as the pandemic waned in the global markets and shipping problem has eased. Buoyed by the rise in demand, the trade has kept a target of $4.5 billion exports in FY23 from $4.13 billion in FY22 – 9 per cent jump from last year.

Chilli, cumin, coriander, ground spices and mint are the major exportable spices from India.

“The export market had slowed down in the first five months of FY23. But now it has started picking up and we are bullish that this trend will continue over the remaining period of the fiscal year,” said Ramkumar Menon, chairman of the Kochi-based World Spice Organisation (WSO).

The World Spice Organisation is a common platform for all the stakeholders of the spice industry—farmers, processors, academia and end-users—to work towards sustainable development.

Spice exports from India form 15-20% of the total production of spices in India. The balance is consumed at home. The country produces 11 million tonnes of spices annually. India exports spices to China, Bangladesh, USA, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Menon said prices chilli are still ruling high as the new crop is yet to come in the market. The new crop is expected to arrive by January next year.

China has been the largest importer of spices from India specifically for chilli and cumin. However, it has not impacted very much on domestic consumption so far because of the large chilli crop being produced.

Menon said the major challenge for the spice sector in our country is to increase productivity and production in order to meet growing demand of the import and export sector.

For this, the role of Farmer Producers Organisations (FPOs) is extremely crucial. Keeping this in mind, WSO has adopted the strategy of working with farmers through FPOs under our National Sustainable Spice Program which currently has about 50 FPOs covering around 20000 farmers.

This year the National Spice Conference is being held in Mumbai on October 6 and 7 where many FPOs are participating. The agenda is to discuss food safety issues as well as to discuss the challenges faced in spice production in India.