India is known as the home of spices and boasts of a long history of trading with the ancient civilizations of Rome and China. Today, Indian spices are the most sought-after globally, given their exquisite aroma, texture, and taste. India has the largest domestic market for spices in the world. India is the world’s largest producer and exporter of spices of the 109 varieties listed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), as the country produces and exports about 75 varieties of spices.
Spices find their use in pharmaceuticals, beverages, personal hygiene products, and food processing. India’s varying climatic conditions provide huge scope for the cultivation of a variety of spices. The top producing states include Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and West Bengal.
Organic agriculture has gained considerable importance in recent years. Research programs promoting organic cultivation of important spices have been promoted. The country presently exports around 1400 MT (2011-12) tonnes of organic spices, valued at Rs 47 crores. USA, Germany, Netherlands are the major countries where Indian organic spices are exported.
The major spices exported include pepper, chili, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, celery, nutmeg, and mace garlic, tamarind and vanilla. Processed spices such as spice oils and oleoresins, mint products, curry powder, spice powders, blends, and seasonings are also exported.
- India commands a formidable position in the world spice trade.
- Spices exports have registered significant growth during the last five years, registering a compound annual average growth rate of 23 percent in value and 11 percent in volume
- In the duration from April 2012 till December 2013, India exported spices worth US$ 1.85 billion to the different countries
- The export of processed spices such as curry powder, mint products, and spice oils and oleoresins accounted for 44.2 percent of total exports
- Mint products accounted for a large volume of spice exports in 2012-13 with a share of 29.7 percent, with exports growing from US$ 235.4 million in 2008-09 to US$ 415.3 million in 2012-13
- Spice oils and oleoresins exports grew from US$ 156.9 million in 2008-09 to US$ 241.1 million in 2012-13
- Chili exports expanded to US$ 415.3 million in 2012-13 from US$ 235.4 million in 2008-09
The US is the major importer followed by China, Vietnam, the UAE, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Germany, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. Exports to the US stood at US$ 351.6 million followed by China at US$ 335.39 million in 2012-13.
Spices Board of India
The Spices Board of India is the nodal agency that works towards the development and worldwide promotion of Indian spices. It provides quality control and certification, registers exporters, documents trade information, and provides inputs to the Central Government on policy matters. It participates in major international fairs and food exhibitions to promote Indian spices, apart from organizing various domestic events.