Monday, May 21, 2018


Status and Future Prospects for Processing and Value Addition of Major Spices
Monday, 06 March, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
T John Zacharia and E Jayashree
Spices have been treasured for the flavour, pungency, aroma and colour they impart to food. The delightful flavour and pungency of spices make them indispensable in the preparation of palatable dishes. Over the years, Indian spices have carved out a niche due to its medicinal and pharmacological properties in the world of spices. There are 109 spices listed by International Standards Organisation (ISO) and the Spices Board, Government of India, has listed 52 major spices of commercial importance.

Spices Area and Production    
During 2014-15, India produced 61,08210 tonne of spices form an area of 33,17,210 hectare. Red chilli followed by garlic, turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander and fenugreek dominate the scenario.

Trend in India's Spices Industry – Export and Import
Spices export registered substantial growth during the last onedecade.In the fiscal year 2015-16, a total of 8,43,255tonne of spices and spice products valued at Rs 16,233.22 crore (US$2,482 million) were exported from India, registering a substantial growth. Among spices exported major share is through chilli/parika, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, garlic, curry powder and paste. During the period we imported 1,65,920 tonne of spices worth Rs4,466 crore or about US$682 million. Major share is through ginger, coriander, poppy seed, clove and cassia.

Processing and Value Addition in Spices
Value addition in spices is yet another area of activity in which India is moving forward. The consistent effort by various agencies during the last one decade has improved the share of the value-added products in the export basket to more than 53%. India can now boast as the monopoly supplier of spice oils and oleoresins the world over. During the year 2014-15, India exported 24,650 tonne of curry powder/paste worth Rs476.26 crore, 25,750 tonne of mint products worth Rs2689.25 crore and 11,475 tonne of spice oils and oleoresins worth Rs 1910.10 crore.

 (i) Black Pepper
    Pepper (Piper nigrum) takes about 180 to 230 days after flowering to reach full maturity. Harvestingis scheduled as per the end product like white pepper, pepper powder, pepper oil and oleoresin. Processing of pepper involves threshing or despiking, blanching, drying, cleaning, garbling, packaging and storage.   

•    Packing and storage: The graded produce is bulk packed separately in jute bags, multi-layer paper bags or woven polypropylene bags.
Value-added Products of Pepper
A variety of products have been madefrom pepper and are classified as 1) Green pepper-based products 2) Black pepper and white pepper-based products 3) Pepper by-products. Some of the important value-added products prepared from pepper are:
White pepper,Pepper oil,Pepper oleoresin, Piperine,Green pepper in brine:
Dehydrated green pepper, white pepper powder, green pepper powder etc.

•    (ii)  Cardamom
        Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) plantstake about two years to bear capsules and takes about three months after flowering for fruit maturity.Harvesting of cardamom is taken up at a time when the seeds inside the capsules have become black in colour. The pericarp at this stage will still be green in colour. Green cardamom and white cardamom are the two important products obtained from fresh cardamom.
Packing: Cardamom capsules are packed in jute bags or wooden containers suitably lined with polythene or craft paper.
 (iii) Turmeric
    Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is ready for harvest in about 7-9 months depending upon the variety, when the leaves of the plant turn yellow and starts drying. At the time of harvest theland is ploughed and the rhizomes are gathered by handpicking or the clumps are carefully lifted with a spade. The post-harvest processes turmeric rhizomes involving following steps:
Cleaning, Boiling, Drying, Polishing,Cleaning
Grading-Packing: The graded turmeric rhizomes are bulk packed separately in jute or woven polypropylene bags.
Value-added Products from Turmeric
Turmeric powder, Turmeric oil, Turmeric oleoresin and the yellow pigment Curcumin

 (iv) Ginger
    Ginger (Zingiber officianale) is used both as a fresh vegetable and as a dried spice. Processing for dry ginger involves Washing, Peeling, Drying, Bleaching
Grading and Packing: The dried ginger rhizomes are manually graded based on the external appearance.The graded ginger is bulk packed separately in jute or woven polypropylene bags.
Value-added Products from Ginger
•    Ginger powder:Salted ginger,Ginger oil and Ginger oleoresin
•    Other products: Sweet and salty products like ginger candy,ginger paste, salted ginger, crystallised ginger etc.

 (v) Chillies
    Chillies (Capsicum annum) is the most widely cultivated crop among the spices grown in India.
    Packing of dry chillies is done using jute cloth, paper or paper cartons with polythene lining of 300 gauges.
Value-added Products from Chillies
•    Chilli powder: Chilli oleoresin

(vi)  Nutmeg and Mace
         Nutmeg and mace are two different spices from Myristica fragrans. The fruits are harvested when they split open on ripening. Mace is detached from the nut carefully soon after harvest, washed, flattened by hand or between boards and then sun-dried till they become brittle. Hot air oven can be used for drying and colour retention is much better than sun-dried mace. Drying: The unshelled nutmeg is dried in the shade or under sun. The seed cover is removed mechanically or manually. It is dried to a safe moisture content of 10 per cent.Nutmeg powder, Nutmeg oil, Nutmeg oleoresin, Nutmeg butter, Mace oleoresin and, Mace oil are major value-added products.

(vii) Cinnamon

    Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) bark is very important as a culinary as well as for anti-diabetic treatment. Following are the stages in the production of quills:
•    Peeling, Rolling and Piping are major post-harvest operations
•    Quillings,Feathering and Chips are the products from cinnamon bark
•    Cinnamon Bark oil and Cinnamon Oleoresin are very important commercially
(viii) Clove
    Clove is the small, reddish brown unopened flower bud of the tropical evergreen treeSyzygium aromaticum. Clove oil is very important both as commercial and medicinal product.
Future Prospects of Value Addition in Spices
    Drying: The practice of drying in clean environment to the required optimum moisture content is the most important operation for all the spices. The problem of aflatoxin contamination is most commonly reported from the chillies followed by nutmeg exported from India.
Packaging and Storage: Spices are highly hygroscopic products and hence easily gain moisture from the atmosphere. It is thus essential to pack the dried produce in suitable packaging material and store in proper leak-proof structure.

- Geographical Indication with regard to some products(credibility in the export markets of GI products)

GI is available for spices like Malabar pepper, Alleppey green cardamom, Coorg green cardamom, Assam Karbi Anglong ginger, Bydagi chilli, Guntur sanam chilli and Naga chilli.

(The authors are from ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kerala. They can be contacted at
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