India will be the world's largest spices processing hub by 2017, according to V J Kurien, chairman, Spices Board. Addressing a press conference he said the board was making all efforts to achieve the goal within 10 years.
A vision document for the purpose in being prepared by a team of experts in the Spices Board and will be finalised in 3-4 months.
Currently, the country is handling 44 per cent of world's total spices business quantity wise, and 35 per cent in value terms. More than 70 per cent of the world's business in value-added spices products is also handled by India.
Kurien said the emergence of Vietnam as a processing centre would not be a serious threat to India as the country's major firms were more quality conscious. According to the estimates of the board, India had exported value-added spices-based products worth Rs 2,100 crore in 2006-07.
The board will launch e-auction of cardamom by next July. Although the commerce ministry had announced the project almost a year back, this will be set in motion in the beginning of the next harvesting season. The testing of the new system is in full-swing, and will be introduced at Bodinaykanoor in Tamil Nadu and later will be extended to other major cardamom auction centres.
Kurien said during the on-going Five Year Plan, 9 more spices parks would be set up in various states apart from the first one being set up in Idukki district of Kerala. Though the exact locations of the parks are yet to be finalised, one each will come up at Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the Spices Board chairman ruled out the possibility of extension of the export subsidy scheme for black pepper. Domestic prices of the commodity has appreciated more than 100 per cent during the last 6-7 months, thus severely affecting exports.
He said the scheme would be reintroduced only if there was any crisis on the prices front. The country imported spices worth $121 million during 2006-07, down $4 million compared with the previous year. Total import of black pepper also dropped to 15,000 tonnes in 2006-07 from 16,860 tonne in 2005-06.