Concern over declining spice productivity

By TheHindu on 02 Mar 2017

K. Venkiteswaran

Another major threat is the emergence of traditional crops



Black pepper production declined in Malaysia and Indonesia

The average global production of cumin is put at 2.11 lakh tonnes



KOCHI: The recently concluded World Spice Congress in New Delhi expressed concern over the declining productivity of major spices in developing countries. A number of factors have contributed to the decline in production and productivity, experts participating in the congress said.

Pepper productivity in India has declined mainly as the average age of the vines has increased and because of the low fertility of the soil due to continuous cultivation and higher disease incidence.

Another major threat is the emergence of alternatives to traditional crops. For example, in Lampung in Indonesia, farmers have taken to increased planting of oil palm, cocoa and coffee. Productivity had also been affected because of higher cost of production from rising input costs of labour and fertilizers, especially in Vietnam and Brazil, a participant noted.

The congress saw a number of presentations on development of good agriculture practices (GAP). Roger Clarke, quality auditor from Italy, K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who spoke on the experience of chilli farmers of Andhra Pradesh, and Somit Mukherjee of Dabur India, who spoke on the corporate view of agriculture commodities, made the presentations.

The presentations on crop reports mainly on black and white pepper, turmeric, chillies and seed spices were informative.

The highlights of the crop reports included one on black and white pepper presented by Peter Prasanth of Harris Freeman & Co, Inc, USA., and a presentation on turmeric by Bharath Maskai.

Black pepper production declined in Malaysia and Indonesia during the past couple of years. White Pepper production in Bangka (Indonesia) has decreased due to tin-mining as well as decorticated white pepper competition from Vietnam.

The projections for combined pepper production is estimated to be of the order of 1.2 lakh tonnes in 2010 in Vietnam, followed by 55,000 tonnes in India. Brazil with 35,000 tonnes, Indonesia, 25,000 tonnes and Malaysia, 23,500 tonnes are the major players in the field of black and white pepper production.

Crop report on chillies was done by K. Devender Reddy of ITC Guntur.

In chillies, the major producing countries are India, China, Peru, Bangladesh, Hungary and a few others. Production of major countries is growing at a CAGR of 5.2 percent. World trade in chillies is put at 4 lakh tonnes. The Indian share in global production range from 50-60 percent, China and Peru are growing fast and Hungary shows a de-growth. Peru and China are dominating world paprika trade. However, India is the only one source for hot chillies.

The Indian productivity in Chillies has been showing positive signs, showing a rise from 1,544 kg a hectare in 2005 to 1,550 kg a hectare in 2009. During 2007 and 2008, the productivity recorded was 1,685 and 1,611 kg a hectare, respectively. The steady increase in productivity was on account of hybrids.

Production of chillies during 2005 was estimated to be 11.85 lakh tonnes. In 2006, it was 1,014 tonnes and in 2007 it rose to 1,242 tonnes. In 2008, the production came to the level of 1,297 tonnes and in 2009 to 1,167 tonnes. The 2010 crop is expected to be normal.

The area under cultivation was 7.37 lakh hectares in 2005, which came down to 6.54 lakh tonnes in 2006, but rose to 7.37 lakh tonnes in 2007. In 2008, the cultivation recorded was 8.05 lakh tonnes and 7.5 lakh tonnes in 2009.

Parneet Swani of Swani Spice Mills, Mumbai presented the crop report on seed spices. The global production of coriander was put at 3.21 lakh tonnes, of which the Indian share is fixed at 80 percent followed by Morocco, 4.7 per cent, Bulgaria and Canada at 3.75 per cent each, Romania, 3.12 per cent, China, 2.2 per cent and Syria 2.5 per cent. The total global exports of coriander is estimated to be 93,749 tonnes, of which the Indian share is 32.21 per cent followed by Bulgaria 10.67 per cent, Romania 10.47 per cent, Canada 9.96 per cent, Morocco 9.21 per cent, Syria 5.8 per cent, China 5.68 per cent and others 16 percent.

The average global production of cumin is put at 2.11 lakh tonnes and the average global demand at 75,000 tonnes. India's consumption is estimated to be 11 lakh tonnes. The total production of cumin is estimated to be 2.11 lakh tonnes globally. Indian share is 68.72 per cent, followed by Syria 8.53 percent, China 5.7 per cent, Pakistan 4.75 per cent, Iran and Turkey 3.8 per cent each and others 4.75 per cent. The total export of cumin globally is estimated to be 75,600 tonnes of which the Indian share is 60 per cent followed by Syria 13.23 percent, Iran 6.9 per cent, Turkey 6.5 per cent and others 13.23 per cent.

The UAE with 17 per cent of the imports, followed by Bangladesh 13 per cent, the U.S. 9 per cent, and Singapore and Saudi Arabia and Brazil and the U.K., four per cent each, are the major buying countries. The average global production of fennel is put at 90,000 tonnes and the average global demand at 20,000 tonnes. The Indian consumption is estimated to be 66,000 tonnes. Of the global exports of 20,000 tonnes of fennel, India contributes to 43.37 per cent followed by Egypt 17.5 per cent, China eight per cent, Bulgaria five per cent, Turkey 3.25 per cent, and others 22.8 per cent. The major buying countries are the U.S. with 19 per cent followed by Malaysia 11 per cent, Germany eight per cent, the U.K. five per cent, Saudi Arabia and the UAE five per cent each and others 48.9 percent.