Kochi: The Union government’s trade promotion body Spices Board will lead an overseas delegation in October to explore the prospects of forging business partnerships with seed spice-producing countries.
The objective is to boost trade of seed spices such as fennel, cumin and coriander. In addition, the board also wants to get a first-hand experience of farming and marketing practices abroad, said S. Kannan, marketing director of Spices Board.
The delegation is likely to visit Turkey, a major cumin producer; Bulgaria, a leading producer of coriander; Iran, Syria and Egypt. Iran and Syria produce cumin, while Egypt is a large producer of fennel. Sweet and aromatic, fennel is also known as ‘spice of the angels.’ Fennel leaves and stalks can be eaten as a vegetable. The seed spice is an essential ingredient of popular Mediterranean cuisine.
Around the same time last year, the board had taken a delegation to Guatemala to study cardamom farming, processing and marketing strategies in the country.
Indian exports of seed spices, which also include celery and fenugreek, declined to 70,125 tonnes in 2006-07 from 74,720 tonnes in the previous year.
Conditions unfavourable to trade in competing countries have raised the prices of seed spices and marginally pulled exports down to 25,750 tonnes in the first four months of 2007-08, from 26,375 tonnes in the year-ago period.
“We will hold talks with the processors and exporters in these countries,” Kannan said. “We are also meeting farmers to learn about their farming practices.”
The delegation also would explore foreign technical assistance partnerships in processing, where India has a daily capacity of around 6,000 tonnes, he added.
India tops the global spices trade of 8 lakh tonnes and has a market share of 43.75%. In value terms, India accounts for 37.5% of the $2 billion (Rs7,960 crore) spices trade.
In April, at a meeting of the American Spice Trade Association in Los Angeles, India had made a presentation of its processing capacity.