Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday appealed to the spices industry to focus on the quality of products and aspire to double exports to USD 10 billion in the next five years.
In the last fiscal, the country exported spices and spices products worth about USD 5 billion.
He also called for focus on packaging and branding of Indian spices as it would help in further pushing the exports.
The minister said that instead of targeting USD 10 billion of exports by 2030, “let us aspire to double our exports to USD 10 billion in the next five years by 2027 and then further double our exports” by 2032, he said while interacting with farmers and exporters at an event organised for marking the foundation day of the Spices Board.
Goyal said that though India is a global leader in spices, it is facing certain challenges when it comes to exports in the whole raw form.
“We do not currently enjoy a cost advantage against many countries of Asia and Africa, which means we should focus on increasing the exports of value-added spices products,” he said.
He added that India is also facing a challenge in preparing its production and manufacturing system to meet the stringent quality and food safety standards prescribed by countries across the world.
“Therefore our aim should be to sustain the competitive edge of the Indian spice industry and give added thrust to meet stringent quality and food safety standards,” the minister said, adding all trade barriers that are recently imposed against domestic products are around the quality.
Unless the industry ensures that it maintains high quality, it will end up losing market share, he said. “We are working to address these issues …but we will need your support to maintain high quality,” Goyal said.
“I would like to urge that we all work together as a team to maintain high-quality standards so that all those who are adulterating … harmful synthetic spices should be exposed,” he said.
People engaged in wrong practices are harming India’s image and the credibility of spices trade and business.
The credibility can be enhanced only when genuine and honest farmers and exporters expose all those who are indulging in bad practices, he said.
“We are willing to set up laboratories anywhere and everywhere across the country in partnership with BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) or FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India),” the minister said.
India exports spices to about 180 destinations and exports have increased from USD 230 million in 1987 tpp about USD 5 billion. Demand is increasing for spices such as turmeric, ginger, coriander and cumin.
So far 26 Indian spices have received GI (Geographical Indication) tag like Coorg’s green cardamom, Mizo ginger, and Kanniyakumari cloves.
“We must also look at Unicorns in the spices sector. We want to see many young startups work in this sector, and create new jobs especially in remote areas,” the minister said.
Goyal said that he was unable to attend this event at Kochi physically as he has been deputed to Mumbai to receive Indian people coming from Ukraine in the first batch on Saturday evening.
The government is “extremely and most concerned about the safety, security and safe return of all Indian nationals in Ukraine”, he said.
During the function, Goyal launched an innovative weather-based crop insurance scheme, a joint initiative of the Spices Board and the Agricultural Insurance Company of India for the benefit of cardamom farmers.
He also released a postal stamp to mark the Coral Jubilee of the board.
“Export development and promotion of spices scheme supports exporters to adopt high-tech processing. The Board has enabled access to primary processing and value addition in spices, through the eight spice parks set up in the major production centres across India for the benefit of growers and entrepreneurs, thereby aiding in better price realization,” he said.
Goyal urged the Board to expand the reach of the quality testing laboratory network to all regions in India and adhere to the highest standards so as to make a name for quality and efficiency of service.
“We must collectively work to make the spices sector the flag bearer of India’s export and the world should recognise Brand India with our delicious spices’ products,” the minister said.