India and spices are synonymous. Not surprising that the Asian nation is the top exporter of spices in the world. To help Indian exporters create a niche for Indian spices in the global spices market, the Spices Board of India is pushing them to make use of the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
GI registration has already been received for Malabar pepper, Alleppey green cardamom, Coorg green cardamom, Naga mircha, Guntur sannam chilli, Sikkim large cardamom, Mizo chilli and Assam Karbi Anglong Ginger. Exporters though are yet to start using them extensively. The Indian spices tag, on the other hand, is exploited largely by foreign exporters. For example, it recently came to light that numerous countries import pepper from India and then re-export the same by tagging them as Malabar pepper.
One of the reasons the Spices board wants Indian exporters to include details GI tag could be the disappointing decline in spices export from India. We recently reported that India exported 843,255 tonnes of spices valued around Rs 16,238.22 crore in FY16. In FY15, the Asian nation exported 893,920 tonne worth around Rs 4899.67 crore. Spices exports had dropped by 6% in volume.
In particular, mint products, cumin, coriander, ginger and cardamom exports dropped significantly.
The Spices Board of India has hence issued a circular that requests exporters to add GI registration details on all branded spices product being exported from the Asian nation.
“As a measure to assure Indianness and supply authentic Indian spices, the board is proposing to include GI registration details on all the branded spices products exported from India,” states the circular.
A GI tag can prove helpful for India’s spices exports as it indicates clearly the geographical origin of an export product, its exclusive qualities or a reputation that is tied to its geographical origin. So India’s spices can now easily be recognised as a premium product that is a cut above similar crops cultivated in other countries across the globe.
“This is a welcome move and would help exporters. The initiative should be expanded further and an awareness should be created among exporters,” said Gulshan John, Chairman, All India Spices Exporters Forum.
A Jayathilak ex-chairman of the Spices Board also welcomed the initiative. He alleged that the misuse of India status as a premium spices exporters was rampant. He said that Guatemala cardamom is being sold off as Indian cardamom in the global market.
“In order to face competition from countries like Guatemala, Vietnam (pepper) and China (garlic, ginger), India has started focusing more on quality,” he pointed out.