Indian spices exports touched an all-time high during 2023-24 on rebound in volumes and higher prices for certain varieties such as pepper, cardamom and turmeric among others.

Spices exports in value terms touched a record $4.46 billion during 2023-24, an increase of 17 per cent over previous year’s $3.95 billion. In volume terms, the spices shipments increased by 9 per cent to over 15.39 lakh tonnes (lt) during 2023-24 compared to previous year’s 14.04 lt. In rupee value terms, the spices exports rose by 16 per cent to ₹36,958 crore during 2023-24 over the previous year’s ₹31,761 crore.

The growth in exports was driven by increased demand for certain spices such as chilli, coriander, ginger, celery, fennel and garlic among others, which saw an increase volumes as well as value. Some commodities such as pepper, fenugreek, tamarind and mint products among others saw a dip in both volumes and value.

China leads pack

China followed by the USA, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates and Thailand were the top five destinations for Indian spices during the year. India is the largest producer and exporter of spices products.

In the current financial year, the spices exports are likely to face some headwinds due to availability issues of some variety such as turmeric on account of lower crop last year and also due to the recent quality issues raised by countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore over presence of ethylene oxide (ETO), which is used as a fumigation agent, in some popular brands.

As per the quick estimates for first two months of current financial year released by the Commerce Ministry recently, spices exports in value terms were down by 5.84 per cent during April-May at $766.79 million over $814.37 million in the same period last year.

Emmanuel Nambusseril, Vice Chairman, All India Spices Exporters Forum said that there is actually not much dip in the export of spices due to the ETO contamination issue and there is some drop in the exports of spice blends (masalas).

However, there is a drop in the exports of some spices such as turmeric, but that is mainly due to crop shortage, Nambusseril said. Exports of value added have also not been affected by the current issues. Going by the trend, Nambuserril said the spices exports in the current fiscal are expected to remain at the same level in the previous year.

However, some customers are seeking new test results carried out by external laboratories in the wake of ETO issues which will have some financial burden on companies, Nambusseril said.