Kochi, Jan. 08: Observing that marketing of spices is a major issue as compared to production, Spices Board Chairman Dr. A. Jayathilak urged farmers and exporters to market their products with a unique selling proposition in the global market by striving for geographical indication (GI) labels for their quality spices. “In international marketing, we need to distinguish the product with a special niche; something that makes the product standout from the rest of the products in the market place. We must look at the geographical indication as one of the tools to promote our products in the global market,” he told the Spices Board’s Buyer-Seller Meet (BSM) conducted on the sidelines of the five-day Global Kokan Festival 2018 at CIDCO Exhibition and Convention Centre, Vashi, Navi Mumbai on Sunday. “For instance, in the best supermarkets of the world you will find the labels like Thalassery pepper or Malabar pepper specifically. This is because they realise that a high premium has to be paid for a geographically-indicated product,” he noted.
An estimated potential business transaction of 600 metric tonne of spices valued at Rs 7 crore was carried out at the BSM. Around 50 exporters and over 160 farmers took part in the meet and the first transaction between the farmers and the exporters was held in the presence of Union Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu during the inauguration of the conference ‘Make in Kokan’ at the festival.Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was also present on the occasion. Later, Shri Prabhu visited the Spices Board’s stall.Maharashtra has 14 GIs registered while the Konkan region’s Konkan Sugandha nutmeg and Konkan Tej cinnamon hold potential for GI registration. Dr Jayathilak said exporters should be able to export specifying the GI because over the years they can ensure that a niche has been developed for India’s brand in terms of having specialised niche products. “Over the years production has been growing up but marketing is an issue. Every farmer is telling us they need good price. The whole world is your market place and the whole world can be your buyer. That is possible only if we bring buyers from all across the country and enable you to talk with the farmers,” he explained.
We have conducted BSMs all over the country, including in Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh, Unjha in Gujarat, Gangtok in Sikkim and Guwahati in Assam. These BSMs give the opportunity to speak to the farmers directly,” he said.Commenting on the activities in the Konkan area, Dr. Jayathilak said: “Spices Board is looking at the Konkan area specifically. A special team has prepared a report on how to develop the spices and exports from this area. The report has been submitted to the government for funding. We are working closely with the Maharashtra Government to make this a reality.The only commodity in which India has 50 per cent of the world trade is spices, he noted. “Mumbai has a very important role in achieving this landmark. Around 30 per cent of the total spices exports from India are from the Mumbai port,” he said, adding: “The state-of-the-art laboratory set up in Vashi here is a testimony to this. The 6th Global Kokan Festival, organised by the Kokan Bhumi Pratishthan, is being held from January 6 to 10.