The Spices Board on Sunday opened the country's fifth spice park in remote Mattupetty village in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, giving a boost to spice farmers and traders in southern Tamil Nadu.
The park, set up at a cost of nearly Rs20 crore, will facilitate the processing and value addition of turmeric and chilli, the major spices grown in the region, by setting up common facilities.
Union minister of commerce and industry Anand Sharma on Sunday inaugurated the spice park, which is spread across an area of 29.43 hectares.
The Mattupetty spice park is equipped with communication facilities, effluence treatment system, warehousing, banking, laboratory analytical services, pre-shipment inspections and certification and customs clearance.
The Spices Board plans to lease land in the park to entrepreneurs and exporters for setting up their own plants for value addition of spices.
Sharma said the park, when fully developed, will have more than 15 processing units and the farming community will be able to sell their produce directly to exporters, thereby shortening the supply chain.
Addressing a function after inaugurating the park, Anand Sharma said export of spices from the country crossed the Rs10,000-crore mark for the first time and reached Rs11,171 crore in 2012-13.
"This is first time in the history of spices exports from the country, the growth in volume has registered all time high of 22 per cent over previous year," he said.
The other four spice parks are located at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh for garlic and chilli, Puttady in Kerala for pepper and cardamom, Kota in Rajasthan for coriander and cumin and Guna in Madhya Pradesh for coriander, fenugreek and garlic.
Ten more spice parks are proposed across the country during the 11th five year plan.
The idea behind the parks is to provide common infrastructure facilities for both post-harvest and processing operations of spices.
Spices Board of India is the statutory commodity board under the ministry of commerce and industry responsible for the export promotion activities of spices and spice product.
India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices in the world.
The country produces more than 65 spices in different varieties out of the 109 spices listed by ISO.
India accounts for 48 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively, of the estimated world trade in spices of 1.05 million tonnes valued at $2.75 billion.