Agri Business

Spices trade should focus on Brand India, Covid influenced trends: Drip Capital

V. Sajeev Kumar | | Updated on: Jun 17, 2022

According to the report, development of complex spices would better cater to global markets

India’s spices trade has to grow at an annual rate of 19.5 per cent to achieve its goal of $10 billion in exports by 2027, Drip Capital Inc has said in its commodity analysis report.

One way to do this is to develop complex spice products to better cater to international markets. This could compliment the demand for spiced coffee, spiced whiskey and mulled wines, the report on spices exports said.

The country should also focus on the emerging sub-trends of a shift towards sustainably sourced and organically grown spices, especially in global markets like the EU and countries becoming more conscious about organic produce. Besides, greater emphasis should be placed on the growing trend of veganism, to widen the use cases of spices, it added.

Pushkar Mukewar, CEO/Founder Drip Capital, said the time is ripe to develop complex spice products to better cater to international markets and help strengthen ‘Brand India.’ India produces 75 of the 109 varieties of spices listed by the International Organisation for Standardisation, of which 80 per cent is for captive use, while only 15-20 per cent gets exported, he said.  

Another trend industry can capitalise on is emphasising the medical properties and potential health benefits that spices such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon offer. Identifying countries with an increasing acceptance of Ayurveda and natural remedies will present opportunities for exporters. Likewise, the pharmaceutical and nutraceuticals manufacturing industry can promote use of natural spices, instead of relying on synthetic chemicals, Mukewar said.

Quoting DGFT, the report said the country exported spices worth $4.18 billion in FY22, the majority of which constituted dried chilli, cumin and turmeric. This was followed by the export of mint products, spice oils and oleoresins.

While the Y-o-Y export performance of the industry in FY22 has declined, India’s spice exports (in volumes) in FY 2021 stood at an estimated 1.78 billion tonnes, against 1.2 billion tonnes in FY20. The growth can be mainly attributed to trends that emerged after Covid-19, fueling a new wave of appreciation for Ayurveda and ethnic Indian food, the demand for convenience, and the desire among people to experiment with different flavours.

M.Dhanavandan, a spice exporter in Bodinayakkanur, said that the aroma and soothing flavour of Indian cardamom, the most preferred Indian spices, will never vanish among overseas buyers. But still there are several challenges with regard to MRL issues. By monitoring and controlling MRL of pesticides, the cardamom sector can boost more volume in the coming years. There is no need to convince buyers on cardamom as a product with its organic tag. But their concern is pesticides with allowable limits and that needs to be addressed at the ground level.

However, there is lack of transparency on proactive updates, circulars by importing countries in terms of allowable MRL levels. The exporters would be aware of such challenges only after the cargo reached the concerned port. Even the authorities here are not aware of the requirements in importing countries. There is a need to update cross-country communications, circulars, latest importing regulations rather than struggling once the cargo gets stuck at the port of discharge, he added.

China and the US formed a substantial market for India’s spices. While China is India’s top importer of chilli, cumin, and various mint products, the US primarily imports curry powders and pastes, spice oils, and oleoresins. Moreover, India exports turmeric and ginger to Bangladesh and some core spices like small cardamom to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Published on June 17, 2022
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