FAO in India

Strengthening Spice Value Chain in India and Improving Market Access through Capacity Building : Project Inception Workshop


Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations India in collaboration with the Spices Board India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) organized a virtual project inception workshop on October 22, 2020. Participants included representatives from the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, relevant stakeholders in the Spices Value Chain, members of the Project Steering Committee, and the Project Implementation Committee. The workshop was conducted to orient members of the Project Steering Committee as well as the Project Implementation Committee on the project objectives, outcomes and to obtain feedback from them and other technical experts on the overall implementation of the activities in the selected geography.

The project focuses on the production of exportable surplus of spices such as Cumin, Fennel, Coriander and Black Pepper, by addressing Sanitary and Phytosanitary Issues (SPS) in selected production hubs of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Further, the project will introduce an electronic system of linking farmers to exporters, thereby improving traceability through certification to ensure the credibility of these products.

The inaugural session included remarks by Shri D. Sathiyan IFS, Secretary, Spices Board; Shri GVL Narasimha Rao, Hon’ble Member of Parliament and Member, Spices Board; Mr Melvin Spreij, Head of the STDF Secretariat, WTO; Ms Roshan Khan, Economic Affairs Officer, STDF, WTO, and Mr Tomio Shichiri, FAO Representative in India.

Mr. Vinay Singh, National Project Manager-Food Safety and Nutrition, FAO India, gave an overview highlighting project activities, the timeline, present status, milestones and review mechanisms. Spices Board officials from all four project states (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan) presented a brief update on project activities in their respective states. This was followed by a panel discussion on challenges faced by farmers and other stakeholders in spices production, trading and market access, and suggestions for strengthening spices value chains. The panel was chaired by Dr Sridhar Dharmapuri, Senior Food Safety and Nutrition Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok. Panellists included farmer leaders, traders, technical experts and scientists working on the aspect of spice value chains.

Key Points from the Inception Workshop were:

  1. Ensure active participation of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) in the project;
  2. Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training programmes should include aspects related to the use of biopesticides and agroecological approaches in the curricula;
  3. Research organisations that are technical partners for this project should explore organic production practices;
  4. Convergence with relevant organizations is critical and must be prioritised;
  5. The focus of the project should not be only on export, but also to meet the significant domestic consumer demand for quality spices;
  6. The lack of market access leads to low price realization, and this can be achieved only through effectively linking farmers directly to markets;
  7. Best practices from this project could potentially be adapted at other locations and for other spices, and therefore, it is important that interventions in this project are sustainable.

 The workshop ended with the concluding remarks by Shri D. Sathiyan IFS, Chairman cum Secretary, Spices Board and Mr Tomio Shichiri, FAO Representative in India.