Staff Reporter

Seminar on Organic Spices and Aromatic Crops inaugurated

KOZHIKODE: Mayor M.Bhaskaran inaugurated the two-day national seminar on Organic Spices and Aromatic Crops that began here on Thursday.

Inaugurating the seminar, the Mayor said that one need to be aware that the dreaded diseases that affect one are the result of food that one eat. Use of pesticides is prevalent. So one need to eschew those that are not needed.

Mr. Bhaskaran said that one need to save the soil from fertilisers. The indiscriminate use of fertilisers has destroyed cultivation in the Western Ghats, he said.

Dr. K.V. Ahmed Bavappa, former director of Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasaragod and president Biogreen India, in his presidential address observed that the quality of spices produced in the country has been lost. One should try to improve the quality and start cultivation by choosing good planting material itself.

The publications, Arecanut and Spices database and a souvenir were released at the function. Top scientists and officials involved in management of spices are attending the two-day seminar organised by Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development, Kozhikode in association with Regional Centre of Organic Farming, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kozhikode, Spices Board, Kochi and Biogreen India and Indian Society of Organic Agriculture.

Boost to exports

India's exports would get a significant boost in the coming years as more farmers switch to organic methods, National Horticulture Mission Joint Secretary S.K. Pattanayak said.

In his keynote address, Mr. Pattanayak said if one assumed a market growth of 10 per cent in Europe, the U.S. and Japan for organic products, the world demand for organic spices might grow to 57,000 tonnes in the next 10 years.

The seminar was jointly organised by the Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development, Kozhikode, the Regional Centre of Organic Farming, Bangalore; the Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kozhikode; Spices Board, Kochi; and Biogreen India and the Indian Society of Organic Agriculture.

Pests and diseases, adverse climatic conditions like drought or incessant rainfall together with comparatively higher cost of production, further aggravate the problems in this sector, he said.

The National Horticulture Mission (NHM) has been emphasising the rejuvenation of the plantation sector including spices.

Production and distribution of quality planting materials by establishing model nurseries, high-tech cultivation, post harvest management, processing and marketing, establishment of tissue culture units, promotion of integrated pest management through disease forecasting units, plant health clinics and bio control laboratories were other thrust areas, he said.

He called for strengthening agencies like State cooperative marketing federations and State agricultural cooperative societies to enable them to carry out purchase and supply operations.