The Spices Board is betting big on its web portal e-spice bazaar, which is being implemented in Andhra Pradesh on a pilot basis, to carry out digital marketing of spices and catering to farmers’ needs.
(Source – Spices Board)
About 1,000 farms in the chilli growing villages of Guntur district have been selected for this new initiative, which will be extended to other districts in AP and Telangana, covering 41,000 chilli and 11,000 turmeric farms, based on the pilot operations.
“Farmers, as well as exporters, have high expectations from the e-spice bazaar,” said A. Jayathilak, Chairman, Spices Board.
Developed in association with the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, the digital platform will ensure total traceability of farms and strengthen the farming community in negotiations with traders. Facilities have already been established in a Quality Evaluation Laboratory at Spices Park in Guntur to test for aflatoxins, moisture and pesticide residues, among others, at subsidised rates.
For a better price realisation, Jayathilak told BusinessLine that the Board has taken initiatives for the formation of Spices Producer Societies to promote value-addition and direct marketing.
As many as 47 SPSs have been enrolled so far in Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Kerala. However, the low budget allocation for the Board this fiscal is hindering forward movement of the project to other centres, he added.
Flavoured chocolates with the flavours of chilli, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, cloves, etc have received an overwhelming response from consumers and the Board is in discussions with leading chocolate manufacturers to market these products across domestic and international markets.
Other innovative products such as spice fragrance candles and aroma oils, bathing bars, beauty cream and cosmeceuticals have already been introduced, he said.
On the sector’s performance, the Chairman said that in spite of recessionary trends in developed countries, spice exports from India have increased. However, the shift in rainfall patterns and rise in temperatures is also affecting spices production, he added. Besides, higher production costs, wages and input costs are increasing the cost of exports, he said.
According to Jayathilak, the presence of pathogens and pesticide residues in spices are the challenges in their export. In spite of stringent food safety regulations by importing countries, exports have increased because of mandatory testing at the Board’s quality evaluation laboratories.
To remain competent, he said the Board has shifted its focus to high-end value addition such as non-traditional application in oils and oleoresins, health foods, cosmetics, nutraceuticals, medicinal properties, thrust on food safety, and fair trade practices.
Source: The Hindu