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Wednesday, December 02, 2020
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Opportunities hotting up in the spices & herbs market

In the wake of the spread of Corona virus, the demand for immunity boosting products has increased manifold globally. With the World Health Organization declaring it a pandemic, people have taken extra measures to keep themselves safe from the virus. Thus, with cases spiking in different countries including India, it is imperative to take precautions and consume immunity boosting foods and ingredients, especially prepared from spices& herbs, in daily diets.

India is home to a variety of spices and herbs.  Ayurveda practitioners have been using spices and herbs for the treatment of human ailments for centuries in the country.  Some of the Indian spices and herbs like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, cardamom, chillies, mint, cumin, tulsi, giloy, aloe vera, are in great demand not only inside the country but also outside.

Indian spices are exported to 185 countries, majorly to China, US, Bangladesh, Thailand, UAE, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, UK, Indonesia and Germany. Strong demand for India’s spices in the overseas markets saw exports cross the $3 billion mark targeted for 2019-20, according to media reports. The export rose to 11, 83,000 tonnes worth Rs.21,515 crore – a growth of 8 per cent in volume. 225 items were exported during 2019-20 as against 219 items in 2018-19.  The product range is expected to further increase during 2020-21.  Products like chlli, mint, cumin, spice oils, oleoresins and turmeric continued to be the major contributors in the spices export basket.

India is known for its quality spices in the global markets and their demand is on the rise for their immunity boosting properties in the face of global pandemic situation. Ginger registered a 178 per cent rise in volume and 129 per cent in value at 50,410 tonnes and Rs.449.05 crore respectively.

Spice mixes have also been in great demand in overseas markets due to their ready-to-use culinary applications. There is a huge opportunity for policy makers, entrepreneurs and exporters to strategize and explore the full potential of the sector.  In terms of value added products, the export of curry powders and curry pastes has risen to Rs.834.1 crore (38,200 tonnes). There is also a steady increase of higher-end products such as spice extracts, food supplements and nutraceutical preparations by combining spices & herbs with other immunity enhancing foods like honey, amla, ghee, jaggery, nuts, raisins, millets, seeds and flowers.

India exported herbs worth USD 330.18 Million during 2017-18 with a growth rate of 14.22% over the previous year.  The export of value-added herbal extracts and other products during the same period stood at USD 456.12 Million recording a growth rate of 12.23% over the previous year.  India’s export of herbs and herbal products has been largely to US and European Countries.

It is the ripe time for young food technologists and scientists to come forward and innovate new value added products. Conducive policy support and imparting technical know-how to the entrepreneurs will certainly take this sector to a new height.