New Delhi: The ministry of commerce and industry has decided to name one of the two spice parks it is setting up after Sebastian Joseph, the 78-year-old Kerala small farmer who developed Njallani, a variety of cardamom that now accounts for 70% of that spice grown in India.
The decision came hours after a profile of Joseph appeared in Monday’s Mint, part of a year-long series.
“I congratulate you on the article on Sebastian Joseph (This farmer changed the face of cardamom cultivation in India),” wrote Jairam Ramesh, minister of state for commerce. “The Spices Board is establishing two spice parks in Idukki district in collaboration with the government of Kerala,” he added. “This is to promote value-added spice exports. One of these parks will be named after Mr. Joseph. This is the very least we can do to recognize his contributions.”
The Mint profile, written by Kochi-based correspondent Ajayan, described how Joseph discovered Njallani by accident as the bees he kept on his small farm cross-pollinated different varieties of cardamom. Joseph also came up with a radical way of growing cardamom. Of the 11,250 tonnes of cardamom grown in India in 2006, the Njallani variety accounts for 70%.
The Joseph profile was the 24th in our Sixty in Sixty profiles, part of a special series that Mint is running throughout 2007, the 60th anniversary of India’s independence.