India is the land of spices. The country comes with a wide range of climates and topography and is able to produce as many as 75 varieties out of the 109 listed by the International Organization for Standardization. Indian growers traditionally follow sustainable agricultural practices attuned to the present-day organic farming concepts.
These days, there is a growing demand for organically grown products that are devoid of chemical contaminants in developed countries such as the USA, Japan, and Australia.
The export of spices from India has increased by 23 percent to USD 359 million in June 2020 from USD 292 million in the same month a year earlier, according to the statistics of Assocham (The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India), the country’s oldest apex chamber, leading various global initiatives to enhance the competitiveness of Indian industry. In the financial year 2021, the largest importer of Indian spices was the United States of America with imports valued at INR 37 billion.
The demand for organic spices from India in the US and other markets is due to their use as flavoring agents and also dietary supplements to boost immunity. This second role of spices is assuming importance as the world community is embracing everything that can help it to stay fit and come back to normal after the last three years of forced lockdown.
India is the land of spices that are sought after globally due to their exquisite aroma, texture, taste, and medicinal value. The country has a long history of trading with Rome and China, a tradition that continues even today. India is the largest producer, consumer, and exporter of spices. Some of the top spices exported from India are fenugreek, poppy, sunflower, black pepper, mint, curry leaves, saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, tamarind, and turmeric.
The USA – A diversified yet stable market for Indian spices
According to the Spices Board of India, the US is proving to be a stable market for Indian spices, especially for important and valuable spices such as mint products and cardamom. The Spices Board of India is a regulatory and promotional body for spices under the aegis of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
One of the biggest buyers of curry powder and mint from India in 2019-20 was the USA. The US has also been importing spice, oils, and oleoresins from India.
In 2020, curry powder export from India was valued at INR 8.3 billion, which is a definite increase from the curry powder exports of INR 5.3 billion in 2015-16. The mint exports were valued at INR 2.5 billion in 2015-16 which increased to INR 38.3 billion in 2019-20.
Spice import sector
The USA imports more than 40 primary types of spices every year. Seven major types of spices is responsible for more than 75 percent of the total annual value of imports. These spices are vanilla beans, capsicums, black and white pepper, sesame seed, cinnamon and cassia, mustard, and origanum.
India plays a major role in the import of spices to the USA. Out of the 50 countries that regularly supply spices to the USA, there are five countries that account for half of the annual value of spice imports. India features in this list along with Indonesia, Mexico, Canada, and China. Moreover, India, Spain, and Morocco are responsible for two-thirds of the value of spice oleoresin imports to the USA.
The overall export of spices from India
There was a record export of spices – in terms of both volume and value during 2020-21. Spice export in the year reported an increase of 30 percent in volume and 23% in rupee terms value as compared to 2019-20.
The export of spices from the country was showing a growth trend despite the lockdown and health scare of recent times. In 2020-21, the export of spices from India crossed the 3.5-billion-dollar mark. The export of spices and spice products during 2020-21 was estimated to be 15,65,000 tons valued at Rs.27193.20 crores. In 2019-20, this figure was 12,08,400 tons valued Rs.22062.80 crores.
Despite being a leading exporter, India is known to import spices as Asefotieda or hing, which is an essential ingredient in many Indian cuisines. India imports this spice from Afghanistan, Iran, and Uzbekistan.
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