Kochi: Spice exports from India crossed $500 million (Rs1,985 crore) in the first six months of fiscal 2007-2008. And given the growing demand and a global supply crunch, industry watchers expect exports to cross the $1 billion-mark for the first time by the end of this fiscal.
It is a competitive situation for the Indian spice market with main items such as chilli, mint, spice oils and pepper doing well, said Sushma Srikandath, chairperson of the All India Spice Exporters Forum.
While Spices Board, the government trade promotion body, is finalizing the figures for the first six months, indications are that exports will be about $514 million from 2.12 lakh tonnes.
This means nearly 60% of the target set for 2007-08 has already been achieved, both in terms of quantity and value. In April-September last fiscal, exports of 1.8 lakh tonnes had fetched $354 million.
More spicy: A wholesale market in Delhi. Chilli exports have earned around Rs550 crore.
Srikandath said that even as commodity prices increased this year, there has been a global shortage of several spices. This has made the international market increasingly look at India for spices.
“India is building its credibility as a supplier of quality raw materials and this is now being accepted globally,” she said, pointing to chilli whose exports have nearly touched 1 lakh tonnes, sharply higher from 58,000 tonnes last year. Chilli exports have earned around Rs550 crore.
The earnings are next only to mint, which fetched about Rs575 crore. “Even as the Chinese October crop has come in, very few offers have been made for that while the demand for Indian chilli is still very strong,” Srikandath added.
Indian pepper has also done well. Pepper exports during April-September touched 12,900 tonnes as against 9,853 tonnes in the year-ago period.
A clear picture of the pepper crop across the globe will emerge during the conference of International Pepper Community (IPC), an inter-governmental organization of pepper-producing countries, in Kuala Lumpur later this month when member countries will present their production details, Srikandath said.
Coriander exports went up to around 13,000 tonnes from 10,500 tonnes. The value-added item such as spice oils saw exports earn around Rs370 crore.
But some of the seed spices such as cumin, celery, fennel ginger and garlic saw a drop in value terms.
Meanwhile, pepper exporters have demanded raising of the duty reclaim under the duty entitlement pass book (DEPB) scheme.
Pepper exporters were earlier allowed 3% of duty reimbursement but the benefit was recently reduced to half by the Union government.
Exporters said that the reduction in the rate will have an adverse impact on their margins as most of them had made export commitments much before the reduction was announced.