Spices export covers ten billion mark

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Kochi, May 22 (UNI) Touching the US Dollar ten billion mark, the spices export from Kerala had recorded a 19 per cent increase in volume at 4,44,250 tonnes valued at Rs 4,435.50 crore (US Dollar 1,101.8 million) during 2007-08, as against 3,73,750 tonnes valued at Rs 3,575.75 crore (US Dollar 792.95 million) in the last year, Spices Board Chairman, V J Kurien said at a press meet here last evening.

He said the spices export exceeded the target of 3,80,000 tonnes valued at Rs 3,600 crore by 117 per cent in volume. Despite the rupee appreciation and other negative global economic factors, India could regain its past glory in the global pepper trade with an export of 35,000 tonnes, valued at Rs 519.50 crore, which was higher by 22 per cent in quantity and 70 per cent in value compared to last year, he added.

Mr Kurien said the short supply in the global market and cautious selling by major pepper producing countries like Vietnam had pushed the pepper prices in international markets.

During last fiscal, the export of chilli had reached an all-time high of 2,09,000 tonnes, valued at Rs 1,097.50 crore, accounting for a share of 47 per cent in volume and 25 per cent in value of the total exports of spices and spice products from India.

Mr Kurien said the major value-added products like curry powder, spice oils and oleoresins and mint products had shown increase both in terms of quantity and value in 2007-08 compared to the previous year.

The export of curry powder had reached an all-time high of 11,500 tonnes, an increase of 21 per cent in volume.

Though the export of vanilla had gone up from 125 tonnes in 2006-07 to 200 tonnes in 2007-08, the value had decreased by 11 per cent owing to the decline in the prices of vanilla in international market, he pointed out and added ''the supply from Madagascar, Uganda and Papua New Guinea have pulled down the prices in the international market.'' The 500 tonnes export of cardamom valued at Rs 24.75 crore registered an increase of 11 per cent in value terms but, the export volume had declined by 23 per cent. In case of ginger also the export had declined by 11 per cent in volume and 30 per cent in value, he added.

He said the higher prices of Indian ginger made the product uncompetitive in the international market.

The total export of seed spices like coriander, fennel, fenugreek, mustard, dill and ajowan was 82,100 tonnes and was valued at Rs 507.75 crore, which accounted for 18 per cent hike in quantity and 11 per cent in value terms.

Mr Kurian said the Spices Board had set an export target of 1.2 billion tonnes for the current fiscal.

UNI MA GKT 1158

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