Business Overview (Introduction)

India is a leader in global spice market producing around 3.2 million tonnes of different varieties of spices valued at over USD 4 billion. India enjoys a unique climate varying from tropical to sub-tropical to temperate - making it ideal for all kinds of spices.

Almost all Indian states grow one or other kind of spices with Kerala in the south taking the lead role. Indian spices are acknowledged as having unique taste and aroma, making it a top favourite in world market. Spice export from India grew 47% during April to December 2011 reaching Rs. 7849 crores. Dollar earnings rose 40% during the same period to USD 1647 million. By volume, export of spices grew by just 1% to 4,36,175 tonnes against 4.32,115 tonnes during last year.

India is known the world over as 'The Home of Spices', thus Spices and condiments need no introduction. The climate of the country is ideal for the growth of almost all spices. Spices are an important group of agricultural goods, which are virtually indispensable in the culinary art. They also play a significant role in our national economy and also in the economies of several spice producing, exporting and importing countries. India accounts for about 45% of the global spice exports. In India, from the point of view of both domestic consumption and export, spices are important commercial crops.

According to the International Organization for Standardization [ISO], there are about 109 spices and India produces as many as 75 in its various agro climatic regions. The term ` spices and condiments` applies to `natural plant or vegetable products or mixtures in whole or ground form, which are used for imparting flavor, aroma and piquancy to the food items`. Spices are also being used within the country for flavoring foods and in medicines, pharmaceutical, perfumery, cosmetics and several other industries.

Spices may comprise different plant components or parts such as Floral parts [cloves, saffron etc.], or Fruits [cardamom, chilies etc.], or Berries [allspice, black pepper, juniper etc.], or Seeds [aniseed, caraway, celery, coriander], or Rhizomes [ginger, turmeric etc.], or Roots [angelica, horse-radish, lovage etc.], or Leaves [bay leaves, mints, marjoram, tejpat etc.], or Kernel [nutmeg etc.], or Aril [mace], or Bark [cinnamon, cassia etc.], or Bulbs [garlic, onion etc.], or other part of spice plants.