A look at the last few years gives a strong indication that the market for spices and India’s role in it will only become stronger and more prominent in the coming years. India holds a dominant position in the spices market and production is far ahead of the competition. Yet, other countries are also seeing the potential and ramping up production.
Trade Value and Volume Have Increased Exponentially
India maintains it’s run as the top producer and exporter of spices on the world map. Between 2005 and 2011, the trade value of India’s spice exports saw a change of 254% from 20 million USD to 140 million USD. At the same time, the volume too saw an increase of 125% from 20,000 metric tonnes to 120,000 metric tonnes between 2005 and 2011.
A majority of Indian states grow one type of spice or the other. But the most prolific spice growers in the country are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan. In Northeast India, Nagaland and Manipur are the only states which do not produce enough spices to merit this list.
Meghalaya’s Potential for Growing High Value Spices Waiting to Be Explored
Meghalaya has tremendous as well as significant potential for growing high value spices. The state remains largely unexplored and the potential is locked up. The rich biodiversity, diverse climatic zones and varying degrees of elevation makes this state the ideal location for growing different varieties of high value spices.
Distribution of Cultivation Area (in Hectares) Meghalaya 2012-13
Compare to the national average, the numbers on these charts may not mean much. But when one considers how the farmers of Meghalaya have been growing these spices for countless generations, one will begin to see the potential. These farmers know the ins and outs of growing these spices, using the tried and tested methods of cultivating them which have been passed down from one generation to the next.
Popular Spices in Meghalaya and Cultivated Area
Among the varieties of ginger grown in the state, Nadia has been found to give higher yields of up to about 10 M.T. per hectare. This variety also has least fibre content and the volatile oil content (oleoresin) in dry ginger powder varies between 1.2 to 1.5%.
Popular Spices in Meghalaya and Their Production
Other than these spices, large cardamom has recently been introduced and is slowly becoming popular with the farmers.
Spices from Meghalaya
Climate: Tropical, sub tropical Temperature: 20° - 25° C Soil type: Wide range of soils, moisture retaining but well drained Planting: Kharif – May to June; Rabi - January Harvest: Two to three months after planting Varieties: Bhut jolokia, Bird’s eye chilli, Synteng hot, NP-46, Jwala Capsicum: Chinese giant, Bullnose, Oskosh, California Wonder Pickle (achar): Hungarian, Wax, Local Achar
Climate: Tropical, sub tropical Temperature: 28° - 35° C Soil type: Sandy, red loam, rich in humus Planting: April Harvest: Six months after planting Varieties: Nadia, Suprada, Thingpui, Poona, Rio de Janeiro, Thinglaidong, Tata, Wynad
Climate: Tropical, sub tropical Temperature: 28° - 35° C Soil type: Moisture retaining but well drained Planting: April Harvest: December Varieties: Lakadong, RCT-1, Megha Turmeric-1
Climate: Tropical, humid Temperature: 10° - 40° C Soil type: Wide range of soils, rich in humus and well drained Planting: June to July Harvest: 6 – 7 months after planting Varieties: Panniyur-1, Panniyur-2
Market Trends for Spices in Meghalaya (2015)
Zizira conducted a little study on the potential of growing high value spices in Meghalaya and we discovered that the spices market is not as volatile as other commodities. Turmeric saw a drastic dip in the middle of the year and this could be due to the fact that this period falls between the sowing and the harvesting season.