BUSINESS

‘Organic tag to boost Sikkim’s cardamom exports’

Organically-grown large cardamom may be priced higher than its fertiliser-fed counterpart but the former has burgeoning premium-class consumers abroad  

The global demand for large cardamom grown in India is expected to rise with Sikkim, which produces a chunk of this highly-valued spice, being declared an organic-farming state, according to Spices Board.

“Organically-grown large cardamom may be priced higher than its fertiliser-fed counterpart but the former has burgeoning premium-class consumers abroad whose number are increasing of late,” said A. Jayathilak, Chairman, Spices Board.

“Discerning users are willing to pay the extra money,” Mr. Jaythilak emphasised. He said organically-raised large cardamom was another initiative under the present government’s Make in India mission which aims to make the country a global hub of indigenously-developed products.

India exported 665 tonnes of large cardamom in 2014-15. In the first half of the current fiscal, the powerful flavouring spice, endemic to a certain section of the Himalayan terrain, has earned the country Rs. 2,011.50 lakh in the international market, statistics show. Sikkim, which grows large cardamom in 17,000 hectares of land, produces 4,000 metric tonnes (90 per cent of the country’s production) of the spice annually. The Spices Board had designed the ‘Organic Sikkim’ logo that was released on January 18.

“Our message to farmers is this: ‘You become exporters’. It is simple but strong,” Mr. Jayathilak said. Spices Board has a team of 50-odd employees working in Sikkim to not just sustain organic farming but empower the growers to earn more from their produce in the coming years.

“The work of our personnel is multi-disciplinary. We do not just marketing but research, spread of information, linkages between farmers and mediations to resolve issues,” he said. The cultivation of large cardamom will receive impetus in six months from now as the Spices Board is set to unveil an e-platform for its famed fortnightly auction in Sikkim’s traditional spice market of Singtam. This is in accordance with the Digital India campaign, Mr. Jayathilak said.

“The idea is to cut down on middlemen. This will ease the post-harvest flow in the trade of the crop,” he said.



Organically-grown large cardamom may be priced higher than its fertiliser-fed counterpart but the former has burgeoning premium-class consumers abroad