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Government to set up 11 spice development agencies

Economic Times:  July, 2015

New Delhi: The government is gearing up to set up 11 Spice Development Agencies (SDAs) with the saffronBSE -4.82 % produced by Jammu & Kashmir will be the first one off the block at a time when the state government and the Centre are discussing a Rs 1 lakh crore package for the strife-torn state.

Sources said the task of boosting exports is handled by the Spices Board but the agriculture ministry is responsible for local production and marketing. With SDAs for various regions in place, the government is hoping to pool in resources of the agriculture ministry, the commerce department as well as the states to provide a major thrust to the production, marketing, distribution and exports of several spices in which India can dominate the global market.

In recent years, India has lost its dominant position as a global exporter of spices and plantation crops such as tea and coffee and the government is looking to restore some of the lost ground, an official said.

During 2014-15, export of spices added up to under $2 billion in India's total export basket of over $310 billion. On Wednesday, the commerce department is expected to raise the issue with the 11 major producing states including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Andhra Pradesh for spices ranging from pepper to zeera, ginger and mint, among others.