-KH News Desk
Kerala should be proud of itself for being a center for the processing of spices on a worldwide scale and the first State to establish a Plantation Directorate under the Ministry of Industries and Commerce, said P. Rajeev, Minister for Industries at the second edition of the two-day CII-Kerala Spice Conference and Exposition, which started at Le Meridien here on Tuesday.
Kerala has developed into a major center for the food processing sector. He noted that the new Industrial Policy 2022, which the State is currently finalizing, will soon be made accessible to the public.
Regarding the State’s accomplishments in the industrial sector, Mr. Rajeev said that it climbed from 28th place in 2019 to 15th place in the Ease of Doing Business index.
Futuristic Technology Hub
“Kerala has been a leader in adopting futuristic technologies, and around 60% of oleoresin production happens here, what with Kochi emerging as the hub of oleoresin production,” the Minister said.
In the State, there are two mega food parks located in Alappuzha and Palakkad, and in 2023, a new spices park is anticipated to open in Thodupuzha. Ten initiatives for tiny food parks are in the works. 60,667 new businesses were established under the “one lakh industries” initiative in a period of 180 days, 9,652 of which were in the food-tech industry. According to him, this has led to investments totaling 3,681 crores and created 1.63 lakh employment possibilities.
A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, Principal Secretary for Industries, emphasized that spices were intrinsically linked to Kerala’s past and advised the State to position itself differently because other regions of India, particularly those in the northeast, were seeing growth. However, acreage, production, as well as branding and placement in the global market, eventually matter, he added.
Learnings from the Pandemic
Sathiyan, Secretary, Spices Board, spoke at the event and stated that the pandemic has made the world realize the actual power and potential of spices since they are a rich source of chemicals with immune-boosting qualities.
“The robust Indian spice industry has been moving forward with a vision to strengthen its position as the premier supplier of clean, safe, and value-added spices and spice products to industrial and retail segments of the global spices market,” he said.
The conference’s goal is to promote Kerala as a “spice destination” and a “safe food destination” so that it may enter more international markets. Over 340 participants from the spice and value-added spice industries are represented at the conference.
Geemon Korah, head of the CII-Kerala State Council, discussed how India established standards for the world’s spices sector, mostly as a result of the procedures and adaptable technology it introduced during the previous 50 years.
On Tuesday, there were technical workshops on “Value addition in spices – the way ahead with a focus on cardamom, pepper, ginger, turmeric, etc.,” “Sustainability and technology for the spices industry” and “Pesticides usage in spices – what Kerala can do as a first-mover State” are two related topics.
The conference’s display included exporters as well as processing machinery, packaging, and equipment.