Kerala must be proud as a global hub for processing spices and the first State to constitute a Plantation Directorate under the Ministry of Industries and Commerce, P. Rajeeve, Minister for Industries, said after inaugurating the second edition of the two-day CII-Kerala Spice Conference and Exposition that began at Le Meridien here on Tuesday.
Kerala has now evolved to be a major hub of food processing industry. The State is in the process of finalising the new Industrial Policy 2022 which will be made available in the public domain shortly, he added.
On the State’s achievements in the industrial sector, Mr. Rajeeve said it made a leap to the 15th position from 28th in 2019 in the Ease of Doing Business index.
“Kerala has been a leader in adopting futuristic technologies, and around 60% of oleoresin production happens here, what with Kochi emerging as the hub of oleoresin production,” the Minister said. There are two mega food parks in the State, in Alappuzha and Palakkad, while a new spices park in Thodupuzha is expected to be commissioned in 2023. Ten mini food park projects are in the offing. Under the one-lakh industries programme, a total of 60,667 new enterprises were registered in a span of 180 days, of which 9,652 units were in the food-tech sector. This has brought investment totalling ₹3,681 crore while generating 1.63 lakh job opportunities, he added.
Reminding that spices were associated inextricably with the annals of Kerala’s history, A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, Principal Secretary, Industries, said the State ought to pitch itself in a different manner, since there were emerging areas pan India, especially States in the northeast. But ultimately, the acreage, productivity, and also the branding and positioning in the global market count, he said.
Pandemic an eye-opener
Speaking on the occasion, D. Sathiyan, Secretary, Spices Board, said the pandemic was an eye-opener for the world to realise the true power and potential of spices, since they are a storehouse of compounds having immune-boosting properties. “The robust Indian spice industry has been moving forward with a vision to strengthen its position as the premier supplier of clean, safe and value-added spices and spice products to industrial and retail segments of the global spices market,” he said.
The objective of the conference is to position Kerala as a ‘spice destination’ and a ‘safe food destination’ to expand to more markets globally. The conference brings together over 340 stakeholders in the spice and value-added spice industry.
CII-Kerala State Council chairman Geemon Korah spoke of how India set a benchmark for the global spices industry, primarily because of the processes and adaptive technology it brought into the industry over the past 50 years.
The technical sessions on Tuesday included those on ‘Value addition in spices - the way forward with focus on cardamom, pepper, ginger, turmeric, etc.,’ ‘Pesticides usage in spices – what Kerala can do as a first-mover State’, and ‘Sustainability and technology for the spices industry’.
The exposition arranged as part of the conference showcased processing equipment, machineries, packaging items, and exporters.