The park has come up on a sprawling 75.73 acres near Sivaganga

Exporters of spices in southern districts vie with one another to get a coveted space in the maiden Spices Park at Muthupatti near here.

When Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram laid the foundation stone for the park in the nondescript Muthupatti on the outskirts of Sivaganga in August 2008, not many exporters were aware of the facility on the anvil. And when he inaugurated the park on October 6 exporters started making a beeline to set up their units. 

“Soon after the inauguration there was overwhelming response from the exporters and 25 units were booked in no time. There were more than 25 applications for the remaining 12 slots and they will be allotted on the first-come first served basis,” Mr S. Nallakannu, Deputy Director, Spices Board, Sivaganga, told The Hindu. The allotment process would be completed in the next two weeks, he added. 

Each unit, measuring one acre and above was being allotted at the rate of Rs. 5 lakh per acre to the exporters, who were registered with Spices Board India. The exporters should set up the facilities within the stipulated two year period and those who failed to do so would forfeit the allotment, he said.

The Madurai based M/s Devi Industries has been allotted four units and it expected to commence the work shortly, he said. In the next two years, the park would be buzzing with activity, providing direct and indirect employment to as many as 2,000 people in this area, Mr Nallakannu said.

The park had been created mainly to empower the farmers who grow spices in and around the district and ensure better price realisation besides helping exporters to process the products and export after adding value, he said. Farmers from Ilayankudi, Kalayarkoil, RS Mangalam, Kamudhi could benefit from the park.

Established at a cost of Rs. 20 crore, the park has come up on a sprawling 75.73 acres. It was divided into two zones – facilitating zone and exporters’ zone. In the facilitating zone, two semi-automatic plants had been set up to process and add value to chilli and coriander (in one plant) and turmeric.  

The plant for processing chilli and coriander had the capacity to grind the two products at 500 kg an hour and automatically pack the powder in 50 gm to 5 kg in retail packing and 5 kg to 50 kg in bulk packing. The plant also had the capacity to process two tonnes of whole chilli in an hour and pack them in 25 and 50 kg bags, he added.  

The two plants were in operation and farmers could make use of the facilities to process their spices products and sell them after value addition and for better price realisation, he said.

The facilitating zone also had two godowns for keeping raw material and finished goods, a sterilisation plant, administrative office building, building for bank, fire fighting system and a power house, he said. The export zone had facilities like a 1.6 lakh litre capacity water tank, roads, underground water lines, stormwater drainage and weigh bridge, besides external lightings, he said.

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