By Sagrika Sanjay
India is a leading producer and exporter of spices and agro food products. The spices are widely grown in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh to name a few. India’s diverse climate ensures availability of all varieties of fresh fruits & vegetables. India ranks second in the fruits and vegetables production in the world, after China. Indian spices are sought after condiments in India and abroad. Indian spice exporters participate in a number of international exhibitions.
The innovative use of spices globally has increased the demands. They are used in a number of products such as tea, bakery, snacks for flavour and taste. Indian diaspora is another reason for the spike in the spice sales. “We are the world’s largest producer of value added spices. As far as oleoresins are concerned, we have more than 30% of the global market share. Approximately, 40% of our revenue comes from exports”-Vigil Varghese, Sales Head Synthite India.
Fast moving life and urbanisation, has led to the development of spice mixes like garam masala, various kind of meat masala, and masala for ever kind of curries and vegetables. As a result, India has been facing huge competition within the domestic market with players like MTR, MDH, Everest, Badshah, and many such known their spice mixes.
Year 2016-17, the total exports from food and agriculture sector witnessed a positive growth of 0.55% that reached US$ 24657.09 million, thus, occupying a share of 8.92% in India’s overall exports- APEDA.
The total export of spices increased 3 per cent to reach US$ 621.78 billion in April-June 2016.Exports from Spices, witnessed a growth of 13.74%, occupying a share of 1.05% in overall exports of the Industry to reach US$ 2890.58 million.
Spice import is favoured in the USA, UK, Sri Lanka, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Germany, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Top spices like cardamom, pepper, ginger, turmeric, cumin, fennel, garlic, fenugreek, curry powder, oil and oleoresins, etc. are in great demand.
Indian agricultural/horticultural and processed foods are exported to more than 100 countries/regions; chief among them are the Middle East, Southeast Asia, SAARC countries, the EU and the US.
As per National Horticulture Database published by National Horticulture Board, during 2014-15 India produced 86.602 million metric tonnes of fruits and 169.478 million metric tonnes of vegetables. The area under cultivation of fruits stood at 6.110 million hectares while vegetables were cultivated at 9.542 million hectares.
India is the largest producer of ginger and okra amongst vegetables and ranks second in production of potatoes, onions, cauliflowers, brinjal, Cabbages, etc. Amongst fruits, the country ranks first in production of Bananas (26.04%), Papayas (44.51%) and Mangoes (including mangosteens, and guavas) (40.75%). The vast production offers India a tremendous opportunity for export. During 2016-17, India exported fruits and vegetables worth Rs. 10,369.96 crores/ 1,552.26 USD Millions which comprised of fruits worth Rs. 4,448.08 crores/ 667.51 USD Millions and vegetables worth Rs. 5,921.88 crores/ 884.75 USD Millions. In terms of volumes, however, exports jumped to 4.1 million tonnes in FY17 versus 2.4 million tonnes in the previous fiscal year.
West Asia contributes a major portion of India’s fruit and vegetables exports. The Apeda data show India’s direct exports to Qatar to be Rs 220 crore for FY17, an increase of 14 per cent from the previous year’s level of Rs 193 crore. The major destinations for Indian fruits and vegetables are UAE, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Netherland, Sri Lanka, Nepal, UK, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Qatar.
“Indian fruits and vegetables are high on nutrition while simultaneously offering very good taste. The tropical climate favours the quality of the fruits and vegetables.
If we talk about pomegranates, the international variety popular by the name ‘wonderful’ does not match the taste of the ones grown in India by the name ‘bhagwa’, Thus the tropical climate favour sour fruits, vegetables and other fresh produce”- Mr. N SivaShankaran, Vice President, UFLEX (India) Mangoes, Walnuts, Grapes, Bananas, Pomegranates, account for larger portion of fruits exported from the country while Onions, Okra, Bitter Gourd, Green Chilles, Mushrooms and Potatoes are major contributors in the Indian export basket.
The international growth through exports contributes in the personal economic growth of the Nation. The Spice Board of India has been working towards the development of worldwide promotion of spices. Apart from large investment pumped in by the private sector, public sector has also taken initiatives and with APEDA’s assistance several Centres for Perishable Cargoes and integrated post harvest handling facilities have been set up in the country. The major challenge for us is to maintain the product quality and flavour. Greater exports lead to a more competitive, technologically mature, productive and rapidly growing economy.