The 13th World Spice Congress (WSC) will be held here from February 27 to 29, 2016.

The theme of the biennial global event will be 'Target 2020: Clean, Safe and Sustainable Supply Chain', Dr A Jayathilak, Chairman, Spices Board India, said here on Thursday. Around 700 delegates from India and 45 countries had participated in the 12th WSC held at Kochi in February 2014.

He also informed that the sixth spice testing laboratory of India will be inaugurated in December this year at Kandla port to facilitate export of spices from Gujarat as per the global quality norms. The laboratory is being set up with an investment of Rs. 15 crore. The other spices testing laboratories are located at Kochi, Guntur, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai.

The 13th WSC seeks to hammer out a credible and actionable roadmap to further push the growth of spices industry and address its challenges across the globe.

The event is being jointly organised by the Spices Board, The Cochin Hill Produce Merchants’ Association, and India Pepper and Spice Trade Association (IPSTA). It will be supported by Indian Spices & Foodstuff Exporters’ Association and All India Spices Importers & Distributors Association, he said.

Around 243 confirmed domestic and overseas delegate registrations, 30 sponsorships and 81 exhibition stalls have already been booked, Dr Jayathilak said.

Spices constitute the only Indian exports where the country controls almost half of world trade. Out of the total production of spices in India, 15 per cent is exported, contributing 48 per cent in volume and 43 per cent in value in the world spice trade.

In the first quarter of FY16 (April-June 2015) itself, India had already achieved 28 per cent of its full-year export target of Rs 14,014 crore ($2,260 million), he said. In fact, the CAGR in spices trade being about 20 per cent, exports get doubled every five years.

Spices exports from India were nearly Rs.4,000 crore during Q1FY16 compared with Rs. 3,060 crore in Q1FY15, a growth of 30 per cent in terms of value in rupee. In terms of volume, spices exports were pegged at 215,215 tonnes against 213,443 tons last fiscal.

Dr Jayathilak said Gujarat accounts for almost one-third of the total spices exports of India and is the largest producer of seed spices in the world. Of the 3,000-odd spices exporters from India, about 150 are major ones, 70 per cent of them being Gujaratis.

As of now, 50 per cent of total spices exports from India are value-added, which the Spices Board aims to increase to cent-per cent.

Replying to a question, he said jeera exports from India have increased substantially in the recent past in the wake of the serious disturbances in Syria, a major competitor for India.

He also informed that chilli constitutes the maximum exported spices from India in terms of volume, while mint export fetches the maximum value.

Asked about any rejection in consignments of exported spices, he said rejections had come down significantly due to stringent quality measures. Thus, while 180 consignments were rejected in 2011, the number came down to just 16 in 2014.