New Delhi, May 29 : Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday that spices exports which have touched one billion dollar mark in 2007-08 should touch ten billion by 2017.
He was delivering the presidential address during the function of the Spices Board's Awards for Excellence in Production and Export of Spices held here today.
He said during the past five years the growth rate was 13 per cent per year in dollar terms and this had to go upto 20 per cent per year to achieve the target of ten billion dollar.
Export of value added product should also go up from 58 per cent-75 percent in ten years, this should be the twin goal of the spices sector, he added. With the cooperation of industry, trade, scientists, researchers, officials etc this goal can be achieved he confirmed.
Rediscovering our markets and increased productivity is the key for the industry's survival. He regretted that the country had badly slipped in these terms. Highlighting the importance of replantation and rejuvenation of plantations for increased production, he said he was sure of the progress in this regard in cardamom plantation as the Spices Board had taken the responsibility.
But though the fund of Rs 30 crore per year for the next five years have been sanctioned under the National Horticulture Mission for the State, he had doubts on pepper replantation which had to be done by the State government.
In regard of setting up of Spices park, the Minister said these parks were coming up in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Meghalaya, Assam and Gujarat.
About the Spice Park in Kerala he said though the foundation stone for the park was laid by him 15 months ago in Myladumpara, Idukki District, the Government of Kerala was yet unable to acquire the required land.
The State government had to redouble their efforts, he added. But he assured that meanwhile Spices Board will acquire land and set up the park as the land has already been identified by the Board.
He put special thrust upon the quality control and said there was tremendous demand for organic products. This frontier India must conquer as the country had great potential and can emerge as world leader.
In fact North East is a natural zone for organic spices. Realizing the potential of North East, the Spices Board has already started organic turmeric, ginger and chilli farming there.
Focus on non-traditional spices export is a must he said. Stressing on the importance, he said, already 50 per cent of the exports were of non-traditional spices like chilli and mint. Exports of fenugreek, fennel, coriander, cumin should be promoted.
Spices Board has become conscious of their market potential and initiatives are being taken he added. While complimenting the Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kozhikode and Cardamom Research Institute in Idukki for their good work, the Minister said the fruit of modern research should be brought in to benefit spices industry.
If the industry has to achieve the export target of ten billion dollar it should not limit spices to culinary purpose alone but neutraceuticals and medicinal purpose also. To boost the research in plantation sector he said, the Cabinet approval is awaited to consider all plantation research institutions at par with ICAR.
It is time to look at spices industry growth as not subsidy driven but research driven, he added. Regarding electronic auction, the Minister said e-auction of tea, tobacco and cardamom had been started. Learning from the success of cardamom e-auction pepper e-auction should also be started, he viewed. This will help in value realisation by the farmers and price discovery.
The Minister presented the Awards, Rolling trophies and Certificate of Merit for Excellence in production and Export of Spices.
On the sidelines of the function, the Minister said the decision on setting up of Cashew Development Board in principal has been taken by the Ministry of Commerce and Agriculture. India is greatest producer, importer, processor and exporter of cashew also second largest consumer.
The industry is major employment creator too. But the productivity is half of Vietnam and that is the greatest threat, he added. Hence the setting up of Cashew Development Board will help in all round development of the industry.
About promoting our products abroad, he said, the Tea Board in co-operation with the UPASI is going to set up Indian Tea Promotion Centre in Cairo, Egypt by August 15 this year. Similarly the Spices Board by Public Private Participation should set up three spices promotional centres one each at Dubai, Chicago and Europe.