Kochi: After curry powder, spice oils and mint products boosted India’s spices exports to $1.1 billion (around Rs4,436 crore) in 2007-08, government trade promotion body Spices Board is planning to cater to the nutraceutical and ethnic food industries with high-end spice products.
Powders and oils extracted from spices accounted for 58% of the exports, said V.J. Kurian, the board’s chairman.
Nutraceutical products are made from plant extracts, which are considered to have medicinal effects.
India exported 440,000 tonnes of spices last year, compared with 370,000 tonnes worth $792.95 million in 2006-07. All spices, except large cardamom, ginger, turmeric, garlic and nutmeg, touched new export peaks both in volume and value.
The Spices Board, which has set an export target of $1.2 billion for 2008-09, is setting up spices parks across the country, giving a thrust to high-end products to attract foreign direct investment (FDI).
For example, a spices park to be commissioned at Chindwara in Madhya Pradesh will have units for making garlic and chilli products such as pastes and oils, and a facility for spice sterilization. The board is also set to obtain land at Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu for a spices park that will focus on turmeric and chilli products.
At Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, spices parks will focus on varieties of chilli, and at Unjha in Gujarat, the thrust will be on coriander and fennel. In Kota, Rajasthan, it will make cumin products, Kurian said. He said some foreign companies have already shown interest in setting up units in these parks, and that he expects a number of FDIs in the spices sector.
He also said India could regain its ground in pepper exports, given the commodity’s high prices following a short supply in global markets. The country exported 35,000 tonnes of pepper worth Rs519.5 crore last year.
Chilli exports last year reached a record 209,000 tonnes, worth Rs1,097.5 crore, accounting for 47% of the total spices exports from the country, and 25% of the total value.
Lower crop in China and Pakistan, two major producer of the spice, and the board’s stringent quality measures have helped India find a prime place in the global chilli market, said Sushma Srikandath, chairperson of the All-India Spice Exporters Forum.
Cardamom exports earned Rs24.75 crore, compared with Rs22.36 crore the previous year, though the quantity fell to 500 tonnes from 650 tonnes.
Now that the Spices Board has started a Rs122 crore replantation and rejuvenation programme, cardamom production is expected to soar to 24,000 tonnes in the next four years from 9,000 tonnes now.