Indian spices have created a niche for themselves through their historical allure and attributed quality parameters. Spice export trade has been subjected to considerable analysis for its growth, trade direction, and competitiveness. However, some of the focus on these areas of spice trade analysis has come at the cost of scanty information with respect to the developmental linkages of the spice export sector with the general economy.
The spices export sector in the country has developed by leveraging the demand rather than any detailed planned approach. The increased forces of competition and nature of the emerging regulatory scenario across the major export destination economies necessitate astute planning in the developmental process in the spices export sector.
The efforts for bringing in transformational change in the spice trade through policy interventions should make conscious efforts to avoid market distortions. Apart from addressing the challenges arising from regional and multilateral trade agreements, the sectoral policies should address inter alia, investment facilitation in technology development for post-harvest technologies, promotion of good agricultural practices in primary production, sustainable cost-effectiveness across products, trade portfolio planning at the macro level, efforts for harmonization of trade standards across destinations and development of actionable trade intelligence services.
What’s new in the Spices (Promotion and Development) bill, 2022, and what’s needed to remove from Spices Board Act, 1986?
Spices Board is one of the five Commodity Boards functioning under the Ministry of Commerce &Industry. An autonomous body is responsible for the export promotion of the 52 scheduled spices and the development of Cardamom (Small & Large).
Spices Board currently holds the mandate for export promotion and quality management of spices and spices products. For cardamom (large and small) only, the current mandate of the Spices Board extends to pre-harvest activities also. There is a felt need to enable the Board to provide focused attention across the entire supply chain of spices if required for the purposes of export promotion. Hence, an enabling provision is required to be made for the Government to include any of the spices as ‘notified spices’ in the Schedule II of the Act, in addition to cardamom, so that interventions across the entire supply chain can be undertaken by the Board for such notified spices.
Also, considering the emerging quality, food safety requirements in the spices sector, and the modern applications of spices in nutraceuticals, natural colors, etc, it is essential to orient the research support to the spice industry to address these aspects. Further, some of the never-used/redundant provisions in the Act need to be removed and offenses are to be decriminalized for
facilitating ease of doing business in the spices sector.
Objectives of the Bill
The Central Government and the Board, as the case may be, while exercising its powers, discharging its functions, or undertaking any other activity under this Act shall be guided by the following objectives, namely: –
(a) developing and promoting the export of spices, including marketing of Indian spices, spice products, and brands in the international market;
(b) promoting and regulating the quality and safety of spices, especially for export, including the development of standards and certification of quality and safety;
(c) promoting and furthering the interests of growers, exporters, and other stakeholders involved in the spices industry, and particularly, the growers of any notified spice;
(d) promoting the production of any notified spice;
(e) promoting export-oriented production of spices including organic cultivation of spices for exports;
(f) promoting co-operative efforts among growers of spices, particularly the growers of any notified spice;
(g) providing support and assistance, including financial assistance, to small growers of notified spices;
(h) providing support and assistance for the post-harvest improvement of spices including processing, value addition, quality, and safety compliance and packaging of spices;
(i) promoting the sale and consumption of spices, including through e-commerce platform;
(j) encouraging fair and remunerative prices for growers of spices, particularly the growers of notified spices, through such mechanisms as deemed necessary, including auctions of all kinds;
(k) promoting good agricultural, manufacturing, and hygiene practices in the spice industry, especially in the interest of the promotion of export;
(l) promoting interventions aimed at aligning the practices in the Indian spices industry with global best practices and adoption of the best technologies available;
(m) enhancing the capacity of stakeholders to promote sustainability in the spices sector in economic, social, and environmental terms;
(n) safeguarding the interests of the workers in spice farms, and particularly, and notified spice;
(o) increasing awareness among the general public about the spices industry in India;
(p) undertaking, assisting, or encouraging scientific, technological, and economic research to support the spices industry, especially in respect of notified spices, and including quality and food safety aspects
(q) collecting, analyzing, and disseminating economic, scientific, and technical data, information, statistics, and studies related to the spices industry
(r) promoting the development of innovative or novel spice products including spice-based nutraceuticals, health supplements, and such similar products; and,
(s) encouraging and adopting the best available technologies and minimizing the use of hazardous chemicals
Spices Statistics at a Glance 2021
Union Minister for Agriculture released the book ‘Spices Statistics at a Glance 2021’on 21st December 2021. The book is published by the Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development (DASD), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the nodal agency for collection and compilation of area and production estimates of spices at the National level. The book highlights the growth achieved in the spices sector during the last seven years from 2014-15 to 2020-21 in the country.
Spices production in the Country grew from 67.64 lakh tonnes in 2014-15 to 106.79 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 with an annual growth rate of 7.9%, following an increase in area from 32.24 lakh hectare to 45.28 lakh hectare. Among the major spices, Cumin (14.8%), Garlic (14.7%), Ginger (7.5%), Fennel (6.8%), Coriander (6.2%), fenugreek (5.8%), Red chili (4.2%), and Turmeric (1.3 %), show significant growth rate in production.
Spices export grew from 8.94 lakh tonnes worth Rs 14,900 crores to 16 lakh tonnes valued at Rs 29535 crores (US$ 3.98 billion) during the above period, logging an annual growth rate of 9.8% in terms of volume and 10.5% in terms of value. The export of spices contributes 41% of the total export earnings from all horticulture crops in the country and it ranks fourth among agricultural commodities, falling behind only the marine products, non-basmati rice, and basmati rice.
Public/Stakeholder feedback/comments are asked to send, if any, by email to @[email protected] latest by 20.01.2022.
Accordingly, the draft Spices (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022 has been uploaded to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry website at https://commerce.gov.in/whats-new/ and Spices Board’s website https://prsindia.org/announcements.