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Indian spices in good demand; export touch $2,432.85 million

Kochi: Indian spices maintained their robust demand in the international market with their export touching a whopping Rs 14,899.68 crore in 2014-15 as compared to Rs 13,735.39 crore (US $2,267.67 million) a year earlier.

Chilli, mint and mint products, cumin, spice oils and oleoresins, pepper, turmeric, coriander, small cardamom, curry powder/paste and fenugreek contributed substantially to the spice export basket as the demand for Indian spices scaled up phenomenally at the global level.

In 2014-15 fiscal, a total of 8,93,920 tonnes of spices and spice products valued at Rs 14,899.68 crore (US $2,432.85 million) were exported, registering a 9% increase in volume and 8% in rupee terms and 7% in dollar terms in value as compared to 8,17,250 tonnes valued at Rs 13,735.39 crore (US $2,267.67 million) in financial year 2013-14.

The total export of spices during 2014-15 exceeded the target of 7,55,000 tonnes valued at Rs 12,304.90 crore (US $2000 million) in terms of both volume and value for the financial year 2014-15.

Spices Board, the flagship organisation under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has been able to meet the export target by devising multifaceted activities for promotion of spices and sustaining their demand in the global market.

"The achievement is substantial — 118% increase in terms of volume and 121% in rupee and 122% in dollar terms of value — and it was achieved in the face of tough competition. Increased demand for Indian spices in the international market is a testimony to their unmatched quality and escalating faith in their sustainability," said A Jayathilak, Chairman, Spices Board in a release here on Monday.

Chilli continued to be India's largest exported spice, accounting for 347,000 tonnes in quantity and Rs 3,51,710 lakhs in value during FY 2014-15. The export grew by 11.04% in quantity and 29.20% in value as compared to FY 2013-14. 

Mint and mint products (mint oils, menthol and menthol crystals) earned substantial foreign exchange worth Rs 2,68,925 lakhs through exports of 25,750 tonnes, emerging as a major money-spinning commodity in international spice markets.

In terms of volume, chilli was followed by cumin with an export quantity of 1,55,500 tonnes that earned a foreign exchange worth Rs 1,83,820 lakhs. In 2013-14, the figures stood at 1,21,500 tonnes valued Rs 1,60,006.45 lakh.

Value-added spice products like spice oils and oleoresins notched a significant high with figures of 11,475 tonnes (exports) and Rs 1,91, 090 lakhs (earnings), registering a growth of 1% in quantity and 10% in value, respectively.

The figures for the corresponding period in 2013 stood at 11,415 tonnes and Rs 1,73, 324.85 lakhs, respectively.

Pepper, 'The King of Spices', contributed significantly to export earnings by bringing home Rs 1,20, 842.16 lakhs with a corresponding export volume of 21,450 tonnes in FY 2014-15.

The earnings from pepper export rose marginally as the figures in the corresponding FY 2013-14 were Rs 94,002.34 lakhs and 21,250 tonnes, registering an increase of 1% and 29% in terms of volume and value, respectively.

Turmeric too continued to make great strides with an export volume of 86,000 tonnes, which translated into a hefty earning of Rs 74,435 lakhs as compared to 77,500 tonnes and Rs 66,675.85 lakhs during FY 2013-14.

Coriander was another major spice with a huge demand in foreign markets. By exporting 46,000 tonnes, it fetched Rs 49,812.50 lakhs while curry powder/paste contributed to the exchequer with a tidy amount of Rs 47,626 lakhs through export of 24,650 tonnes.

Small Cardamom, 'The Queen of Spices', stood at 3,795 tonnes that earned for the country foreign exchange pegged at Rs 49,812 lakhs. Large cardamom's export value surged substantially to Rs 8403.90 lakhs as compared to Rs 7961.15 lakhs compared to FY 2013-14.

In 2014-15, chilli, cumin, turmeric, coriander and ginger accounted for more than 70 per cent of the total volume of spice export whereas mint, chilli, spice oils & oleoresins, cumin and pepper accounted for around 70% of the total export earnings.

"Indian spices are not only lucrative products for the national exchequer but have also become a trusted global brand," Jayathilak said, adding, "The challenge for us is to give a huge impetus to their export and sustain their quality and flavour." 

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