Agricultural economist and NITI Aayog member, Ramesh Chand, urged the All-India Spices Exporters Forum (AISEF) to draw up a ‘One District One Spice’ action plan to promote spice cultivation as a sequel to the Government of India’s One District One Product (ODOP) initiative, which was launched to fuel the country’s economic growth.

He was addressing the delegates at the sixth edition of the four-day International Spice Conference (ISC) organised by AISEF here on Saturday. 

The ODOP under Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises scheme adopts one district one product approach to reap the benefits of scale in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services, and marketing of products.

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Chand said the promotion of spices cultivation, being a high-valued crop, with the traditional competitive advantage is easier. Out of the total crop area of 200 million hectares in this country, spices are grown only in 2.2 per cent of the total crop area, which accounts only for 4.4 million hectares. But the spices’ share in production in terms of value in the total crop sector is 6 percent.

“This would mean that spices, as a high-value crop, on average can fetch income three times more than the average of all other crops put together,” he added. 

Chand also emphasised on the need to prioritise geographical indication (GI) tagging in spice cultivation. For instance, he said, the turmeric grown in Meghalaya, having a subtropical and temperate climate, is a magic spice but we can’t expect the same quality when it is grown elsewhere.  “Such dilution of quality must be checked, otherwise the consumer world over will feel that the claims on spices are exaggerated,” he added. 

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Sanjeev Bisht, Chairman, AISEF said, start-up-led digital disruptions in the agriculture sector have been witnessing a massive push with numerous start-ups that have stepped in to revolutionise the industry.

Bisht added that India has more than 1,500 plus agritech start-ups, growing annually at a rate of 25 per cent, empowering over 150 million farmers with data-led systems. India is also the third largest recipient of agri-tech funding after the US and Germany.

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