Challenges in Focus

Global Spice Industry has been on steady growth path over the past few years and demand for and awareness about spices is at its peak. Spices are finding newer applications in food, cosmetics and nutraceuticals. But beyond the rosy picture, there lies many challenges:

1. Sustainability & Exportable Surplus: Population growth, urbanisation, loss of arable land at the rate of 0.5 per cent every year due to salt and alkali leaches are major threats to food production, and hence, to food security. This makes meeting the rising global demand for spices also increasingly challenging. Land holdings in the growing countries are small (in India, 70 per cent of the holdings are below one hectare) making penetration of modern technology and agricultural practices difficult. There is a need to support productivity improvements and to expand spice cultivation to non-traditional areas.

2. Slow progress in the farm: A healthy farm is at the heart of long term sustainability of the industry. But it is not always spring in our farms. The farmers work under difficult conditions such as declining productivity, reduction of area under cultivation and increased contamination issues. WSO thinks it can effectively intervene and nurture the farm and the farmer by involving the corporates through extension of their CSR initiatives.

3. Striking the right balance on spice regulations:  When food safety standards are set, the producers are not involved in the legislative process. The practical issues that arise with their implementation are not looked into. Food safety concerns have to be addressed at the grass root level, together with the producer. WSO will be a forum, which will work together with respective National associations, to take up such matters with the authorities, so that a proper balance is struck between food safety and sustainability.

4. Blocked communication channels: Although there is a plethora of spice associations representing individual country concerns, a single platform to bridge the communication disconnect between producing and importing countries is a necessity.

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