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BY: P Pirakatheeswari | Category: India | Post Date: 2009-07-30

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AUTHOR: P. PIRAKATHEESWARI, Lecturer in Commerce,
Sri Sarada College for Women (Autonomous), Salem, 16.

India is a land of spices. Indian spices are popularly known for their flavour both in the domestic and international market. They are not only indispensable for the dietary pattern but are also known for their medicinal and curative effects since time immemorial. Each state of India has been bestowed with some spices. With the growing awareness of ill effects of synthetic chemicals, drugs and medicines, people are now switching towards traditional system of medicines where spices like ginger, turmeric, chillies, etc. are widely used. The diverse agro climatic conditions prevailing in different parts of the country offer an enormous scope for cultivation of a wide variety of spices. The country today produces a wide range of spices. These can broadly be divided into five categories viz.

(i) Major spices: black pepper, cardamoms (small & large), chillies, ginger, and turmeric,

(ii) Seed spices: coriander, celery, fennel, fenugreek, dill, aniseed, caraway, mustard, poppy seed, parsley and ajowan,

(iii) Tree spices: clove, nutmeg and mace, cinnamon, tejpat, kokum, allspice, cabbage, tamarind, cassia, curry leaf, asafetida, and pomegranate;

(iv) Herbal spices: thyme, marjoram, oregano, savory, basil, rosemary, horse radish, tarragon, hyssop and lovage; and

(v) Misc. spices: garlic, saffron, vanilla, juniper berry, pepper long, greater galanga, curry powder, spice oils, oleoresins and mixtures where spice content is predominant.

Introduction and Cultivation of New Crops

Several new crops have been introduced for commercial cultivation, e.g.:
* Kiwi fruit in sub-mountain areas of North India
* Olive in mid hills of North Western Himalayas
* Low chilling stone fruits in the North Western plains * Oil Palm in coastal states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, etc.
* Gherkin in south and west India
* Baby corn and sweet corn in certain specific pockets, and
* Broccoli, Brussels, sprouts, asparagus, celery, and parsley near the cities.

Export of Spices from India

India is the largest producer (2.48 million tonnes), exporter (0.20 million tonnes) and consumer of spices. Indian spices flavour foods in over 134 countries. Spice exports touched Rs. 11800 million during the last year

Needs and Expectations

In spite of significant achievements in horticulture R&D, a number of challenges still need to be met. These are:

* Inadequate supply of quality planting material,
* Heavy losses caused by several biotic and a biotic stresses, and
* Several unresolved chronic disorders.

As a result, the productivity per unit area is low, resulting in high cost of production. Further, the quality of produce in many cases is far from satisfactory. The post harvest losses continue to be high. Full advantage has yet to be taken of several frontier areas e.g., biotechnology, protected cultivation, computer aided management of inputs, integrated nutrient management, leaf nutrient standards, biofertilizers, integrated pest management and mycorrhiza. There is also need for change both in the content and approach of research which can be taken up in partnership with private sector on aspects like production of hybrids, green house production of flowers, biotechnology, value addition and export. The future growth of horticulture industry will largely depend on new and globally competitive technologies. As such, ambitious research programme is called for in horticultural crops in the following thrust areas.

Spices: Their Cultivation and Post, Harvest Management

The association of spices and mankind is prehistoric and multifarious. They were used as curatives, body toners, preservatives, contraception, food additives, flavoring and colouring agents, cosmetics and so on. Spices are the most fascinating vegetation. Holding a significant position on human life. This mouth watering ingredient is an essential component of human food. The world had identified. India as the 'Land of spices' which is the largest producer and exporter of spices. India is the biggest producer of black pepper. The king of spices and cardamom the queen of spices. Thus it may not be out of place to designate India the capital of Spice kingdom. Despite these facts, we can not afford to become complacent. The spice world market is becoming tough due to challenges thrown by many other concerning high production. Quality production, economical means of value addition, etc. This necessaciates concerted efforts to sustain supremacy of India in spice production and export. The author has felt a great necessity of composite information on cultivation and post harvest management of spices which provoked him to write a book exclusively on spices, assimilating the existing facts in simple language which it hoped will swing back India in the international trade of spices. This book will definitely fulfill the cherished dream of aspirants like students, researchers, farmers and the entrepreneurs having interest in spices. Export of spices contributes to economy quite significantly.

India has a wide variety of climate and soil on which a large range of horticultural crops such as, fruits; vegetables, potato and other tropical tuber crops; ornamental, medicinal and aromatic plants; plantation crops; spices, cashew and cocoa are grown. After attaining independence in 1947, major emphasis was laid on achieving self sufficiency in food production. Development of high yielding wheat varieties and high production technologies and their adoption in areas of assured irrigation paved the way towards food security ushering in green revolution in the sixties. It, however, gradually became clear that horticultural crops for which the Indian topography and agro climates are well suited is an ideal method of achieving sustainability of small holdings, increasing employment, improving environment, providing an enormous export potential and above all achieving nutritional security. As a result, due emphasis on diversification to horticultural crops was given only during the last one decade.

Future Strategy

1. The area under spices cultivation may be expanded by utilizing the fallow land, homesteads and hilly lands.

2. Spices should be intercropped in the existing coconut/arecanut/ oil palm plantations.

3. 'Bush pepper' can be encouraged to cultivate in home garden and also as intercrop under plantation crops along with Garcinia.

4. Production and supply of planting materials of high quality improved varieties.

5. 'Plant Quarantine Unit' should be set up in the airport in order to prevent the disease spread in the fragile ecosystem while introducing the planting materials.

6. Infrastructure facilities such as storage and processing units and marketing should be set up to avoid market glut and also to get remunerative price for spices.

7. Adoption of improved package of practices for cultivation of spices

While the impact of green revolution in India was felt mainly in assured irrigation areas, horticultural crop production has brought prosperity even in and semiarid areas. Horticulture is no longer a leisurely avocation and is fast assuming position of a vibrant commercial venture. Nature has placed India in a state of advantage and it is now on us horticulturists to work towards ushering in a GOLDEN REVOLUTION in years to come in India.

Economic value of spices India:
At present, production is around 3.2 million tones of different spices valued at approximately 4.2 billion US dollar and India holds a prominent position in world spice production.


No Indian meal is considered complete without the tangy and delectable flavor of Indian Spices, locally known as masala. Indian Spices famous the world over for their gastronomic value, are also known to possess high medicinal values. India produces a wide range of spices. Because of the varying climates - from tropical to sub-tropical to temperate almost all spices grow splendidly in India. In reality almost all the states and union territories of India grow one or the other spices. Under the act of Parliament, a total of 52 spices are brought under the purview of Spices Board. However 109 spices are notified in the ISO list. Spice products are essentially products derived from the whole spices. They are in the form of powders; extracts like oil, oleoresin, colors; or in preserved for ms like freeze dried, dehydrated frozen, in brine, in sugar syrup, etc. Spices are defined as ¡§a strongly flavored or aromatic substance of vegetable origin, obtained from tropical plants, commonly used as a condiment¡¨. In ancient times, spices were as precious as gold; and as significant as medicines, preservatives and perfumes. India - the land of spices plays a significant role in the global spices market. No country in the world produces as many kinds of spices as India, with quality spices coming from the state of Kerala. In almost all of the 28 states and seven union territories of India, at least one spice is grown in abundance. The most popular spice products are extracts which are widely used in food, pharmaceutical and toiletry industries. India enjoys a near monopoly in the field of spice extract.

Article Source: http://www.saching.com

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Comments on this article: (2 comments so far)

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Comment Comment By Comment Date
My God !!
Amazing .. India exports 4.2 billion US dollar in spices .. nice information.
Alam 2009-07-30
Impact of drought
Since many parts of the country are suffering from drought, do you think there will be an impact on spice cultivation and economy overall this year? I will appreciate if author leaves a comment too.
Bharat 2009-07-30

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