Will help importers easily identify reliable sources of spices and spice products

The $2 billion spices export business is in for a major change on the quality front with the Spices Board deciding to introduce a voluntary certification for spice processors and exporters.

The terms of reference for the proposed Spice House Certification is ready, and the Board will soon begin certifying processors and exporters, Chairman of the Spices Board A. Jayathilak told The Hindu here.

Spice House Certificate would be issued as a stamp of quality after officers and scientists from the Board inspected the processing facilities. This would help importers easily identify reliable sources of spices and spice products, said Dr. Jayathilak. He said that it would be up to the processors to either go in for the certificate or not to.

There are more than 3,000 registered exporters of spices and spice products in the country though about 90 per cent of the exports are accounted for by 30-40 exporting houses.

The question of quality was being basically addressed to those who accounted for the remaining 10 per cent of exports, said Dr. Jayathilak.

He, however, pointed out that quality of spices exported from the country had steadily improved over the years. The low rate or rejection of consignments was a clear evidence of this achievement.

Spices Board’s quality improvement programme is backed by a chain of laboratories across the country for various spices. Labs have been set up in Mumbai, Guntur, Kochi and Chennai. Two more are coming up in Delhi and Turicorin.

Cardamom

Dr. Jayathilak said that export of spices had beaten the recession blues to grow a little during the first quarter of the current financial year. He said the figures were not yet finalised but ruled out that the eurozone crisis had adversely affected Indian spices exports.

Spices exports, helped by a surge in earnings from small cardamom, crossed the $2 billion-mark last financial year.

The queen of spices appears set to recapture its lead position with export volume going up nearly 300 per cent last financial year. Earnings in rupee terms rose 175 per cent, according to figures from the Spices Board.

Cardamom exports stood at 4,650 tonnes last year, earning more than Rs.360 crore.

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