Prices of various spices, particularly cumin (jeera), are likely to cool from January 2024, when new arrivals from the kharif season are expected to hit the market. “This year, prices have hit an all-time high for many spices like cumin. We expect the prices to fall during January-March 2024 when we see the new arrivals. We expect a good crop and it will help prices stabilise,” Ramkumar Menon, Chairman of World Spice Organisation, told businessline.

Menon, who was here for the National Spices Conference 2023 held here during the weekend, said India, which exported $4 billion worth spices last year, needed to look at increasing value addition and opening up new international markets.

“From a level of ₹250, prices of cumin went up to ₹640 a few months ago. Now it’s come down to ₹450. We may not go back to the old levels, but then I think it will stabilise a bit,” he said.

“At present, about 50 per cent of the spices exports are value-added products such as extractions, spice mixes and spices oils. We need to increase this to at least 75 per cent in order to touch the $10-billion export target by 2030. We are likely to touch the $5-billion mark by 2025,” he said.

He said the country should also focus on improving the quality of the output with domestic and international standards becoming tougher by the day.

India exports 15 per cent of the total output of 10.3 million tonnes and consumes the remaining the remaining 85 per cent domestically. 

New markets

He said the country should also look at new export markets such as the CIS, Africa and South America as it attempts to top the $10-b export target. “We used to serve the Central Asian countries markets via Russia but it was cut off. We need to revive these markets. We should also look at the opportunity in South American and African markets,” he said.

Menon said ensuring the safety of “our spices is not only a responsibility but a commitment towards building a resilient and sustainable future for our farmers and consumers alike. The industry should also ensure that all stakeholders have access to a better and more sustainable income.”

The two-day spices conference was attended by various farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and non-governmental organisations, representing approximately 25,000 farmers associated with the National Sustainable Spice Programme (NSSP), a programme promoted by the World Spice Organisation.