Effects of COVID-19 & Strategy for Rejuvenating Spices Sector of India

“Spices Board along with Ministry of Commerce and External Affairs is taking necessary initiatives to share and update information about the Indian exporters of Spices. The Spices Board is also getting in touch with Indian Embassies in all countries to take update on the current situation and how export of Indian spices can be promoted” said Mr. D Sathiyan, IFS Secretary, Spices Board India during an e-conference on Effects of COVID-19 & Strategy for Rejuvenating Spices Sector of India, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on May 23, 2020. Talking about research and development Dr. A B Rema Shree Director, Research & Development, Spices Board India said that the Board is working towards new type of genes in spices to bring verity and create demand in the market. She further added that Spices Board along with Indian Institute for Spice Research (IISR) is currently focusing on new ways of cultivation and which type of spices should be produced to fetch good prices for the farmers.  Mr. Nithin Joe Deputy Director, Marketing, Spices Board India focused on the marketing part and informed that Indian spices should be marketed as immune boosters. There is a huge demand of Indian organic spices such as turmeric, ginger and garlic and India should seize this opportunity. According to industry sources, the demand for turmeric and ginger for food supplements increased many folds in recent times. Thus, the Indian government recently decided to invest in private-public partnerships to increase the production of turmeric to meet the growing demand. This decision was made during the Indian lockdown period.

Talking about other challenges COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the spices trading and market. When COVID-19 started spreading across the world, the Gulf countries temporarily suspended cardamom import from other countries. As a result Indian exporters of cardamom lost many export orders from the Gulf. Other issues such as shortage of containers, vessels getting delayed owing to fumigation and complying with norms of various countries, delays in clearances, advisories for not entering particular port and delay in payments were discussed.

Other speakers such as Mr. Vikash Bhatia Managing Director , RIECO Industries Limited -IIT Bombay Alumni, CPIM From APICS USA, Mr. Mayur Mehta Editor, Commodity World, Mr. Anand Kishor Kuruwa President, India Pepper & Spice Trade Association, Mr. Girish Brahmbhatt President , Indian Spice & Foodstuff Exporters Association, Mr. Bhaskar Shah Past Chairman, Indian Spice & Foodstuff Exporters Association, Mr. Tejas Gandhi Co-Chairman, Federation of Indian Spice Stakeholders, Mr. Ramesh B N Scientist, Quality Evaluation Laboratory, Spices Board India shared their views and suggestions.

The webinar was moderated by Mr. Vishal Jalan – Chairman of the E-conference and President & CEO, Aricha Organic. More than 200 relevant industry people from India, Europe, Malaysia and Australia participated in the discussion.

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