Spices from India

Spices from India have been the soul of global cuisine since time immemorial. Indians have been well versed with growing spices and also with their culinary and medicinal applications much before the rest of the world. The lure of these spices has led to historic explorations, wars and conquests and the country continues to retain its stature as the Spice Bowl of the World.

Spices from India

Spices from India have been the soul of global cuisine since time immemorial. Indians have been well versed with growing spices and also with their culinary and medicinal applications much before the rest of the world. The lure of these spices has led to historic explorations, wars and conquests and the country continues to retain its stature as the Spice Bowl of the World.

The Enchanting World of Indian Spices

Indian Spices – An Overview

  • India is the world's largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices
  • India accounts for half of the global trading in spices
  • India produces ~75 of the 109 varieties of spices listed by ISO
  • Organic spice farming is gaining prominence in India
  • Export of Indian spices are expected to touch US$3 billion by 2016-17
  • n 2014–15, the biggest buyers of Indian spices were the US, followed by China, Vietnam, UAE, Malaysia, UK, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Sri Lanka
  • The Spices Board of India:
    • Promotes Indian spices globally
    • Provides quality control, certification, exporter registration services
    • Documents trade information
    • Provides inputs to the central government on policy matters
    • Participates in major international fairs and food exhibitions to promote Indian spices
    • Organises domestic events to promote Indian spices

Indian spices are known the world over for their aroma, texture and taste. India produces about 75 of the 109 varieties of spices listed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The varying climatic conditions in India provide ample scope for the cultivation of a variety of spices. Almost all Indian states produce spices, with the total area under spice cultivation to be 3.21 million hectares.

Over the years, the Indian spice community has evolved and matured as a technology-based, quality-conscious, customer-centric, market-driven industry. This has led to it commanding a formidable position in world spice trade with significant additions in the manufacture of value added products. Also, great emphasis has been given to organic spice farming.

The Indian Spices Industry

Indian spices command a formidable position in world spice trade. The Indian spices industry exported 8,93,920 tonnes of spices and spice products during 2014-15, valued at US$2,432.85 million. India’s spice exports comprise whole spices, organic, spice mixes, spice blends, freeze dried, curry powders/mixtures, oleoresins, extracts, essential oils, spice in brine and other value added spices.

Adherence to High Spice Quality Standards

Spice quality has assumed great importance in recent times. Some of the quality features include:

  • Stringent quality control measures and quality certification for spices from internationally recognised agencies
  • Pre-shipment inspection of all spices and validation of quality checks
  • Mandatory inspection by the Spices Board of India
  • Strict checks on physical, chemical and microbial parameters of all spices, including pesticide residues, aflatoxin, heavy metals and other contaminants/adulterants
  • Samples testing with the American Spice Trade Association, International Pepper Community and Eurofins Lab (Germany)

List of Top Indian Spices

Following was the share of major spices in India's spice exports during 2014-15 (%):

Chilli 23.6
Mint Products 18.0
Spice Oils and Oleoresins 12.8
Cumin 12.3
Pepper 8.1
Turmeric 5.0
Curry powder/paste 3.2
Nutmeg and mace 1.8
Others 38.7

Source: Spices Board of India

Government Initiatives to Promote Exports of Indian Spices

India’s Spice Parks

The objective of setting up Spice Parks in India was to provide common infrastructural facilities for both post-harvest and processing of spices and spice products along with backward integration by providing rural employment.

India’s Spice Parks provide excellent processing facilities that are at par with international standards in terms of cleaning, grading, sorting, grinding, packing and warehousing.

Educative services provided to spice farmers and traders at the Spice Parks include:

  • Spice Training Programmes on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
  • Post-harvest Operations of Spices
  • Advanced Spice Processing Practices
  • Global Food Safety and Quality Standards

Spice Parks help ensure better pricing of spices by reducing supply chain costs. They provide spice farmers with the necessary infrastructure and facilities to improve spice quality and sell spices directly to spice exporters.

Spice Parks under the Spices Board are located in several parts of India, including: 

  • Chhindwara (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Puttady (Kerala)
  • Jodhpur (Rajasthan)
  • Guna (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Guntur (Andhra Pradesh)
  • ivaganga (Tamil Nadu)
  • Kota (Rajasthan)
  • Raebareli (Uttar Pradesh)

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India is the prominent producer of a wide range of spices.

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