‘God’s gift’ from spice plant – Tea company sets up largest facility in Kaliabor

Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL), the second largest tea-producing company in the country, will be offering its spice products under the brand name Anshi.

Anshi means “God’s gift” in Sanskrit.

Amalgamated Spice Park

The company commissioned Amalgamated Spice Park, the largest spice-processing plant in the Northeast which is housed at a state government industrial facility at Kaliabor in Nagaon district on July 29.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi inaugurated the project. Besides this, he also inaugurated three more projects of the company.

A senior official of the APPL said in order to be more customer-centric and offer some of its products directly to end-consumers, it has decided to market them under the umbrella brand Anshi.

“It would encapsulate and connote everything that the APPL’s products would offer. Its place of origin and the resultant goodness in health and taste that only natural foods can promise,” he said.

The unit is spread across 6.2 bighas with a built-up area of 30,000 square feet.

“The Spice Park aims to promote the indigenous spices of the Northeast through fair price, value additions and creating market linkages in domestic and international markets for the spice-farming fraternity,” the official said.

It will have three processing lines – one for tuber spices like ginger and turmeric, second for seed spices like black pepper, coriander, mustard and the third one for chilli processing.

Many of the spices have been sourced from spice-specific clusters identified at various locations in the region.

The company at present grows only black pepper and has planted over three lakh trees.

“In the next two years, this figure will be approximately seven lakh trees. The current production is 40 tonnes and on maturity this figure will exceed 600 tonnes,” the official said.

Black pepper is the most-traded spice in the world. It is known as the king of spices for its hot, biting flavour and pungent aroma.

The plan at present is to sell spices to manufacturers across the country. Spices would be available at its kiosks in Assam and the Dooars. Exports will be planned at a later stage.

“The unit has been designed to address sustainability issues through initiatives in water and waste management, use of alternative sources of energy and landscaping for improving air quality,” the official said.

Retrieved from – http://www.telegraphindia.com/1150727/jsp/northeast/story_33857.jsp#.VbsVUvOqqko



Spices production to get a boost

The government has rolled out a programme to enlarge the State’s footprint in the spices market by turning the focus on productivity improvement of pepper, nutmeg, clove, turmeric, and ginger.

An amount of Rs.14 crore has been earmarked in the annual Plan for 2014- 15 to bring more land under spice cultivation, use high-yielding varieties, and assist farmers in technology adoption for improved production.

The lion’s share of the funds for programme, Rs.12.5 crore, has been allocated for pepper. Over the year, the Agriculture Department hopes to bring 3,000 hectares under cultivation with improved varieties of pepper. Farmers will be given a subsidy of Rs.20,000 a hectare to establish new pepper gardens. As many as 30 nurseries are to be established to produce 15 lakh rooted pepper cuttings.

Director of Agriculture R. Ajithkumar said 495 hectares of pepper gardens would be revitalised under the programme. The old vines would be cut down and replaced with good quality vines.

Pepper production in Kerala is marked by low productivity. Though the crop is grown in over 1.71 lakh hectares in the State, production is less than 20,000 tonnes. Karnataka produces the same quantity on just 20,000 hectares. The average yield of pepper in countries such as Thailand and Vietnam is three to five times that in Kerala. The main reason for the poor productivity of pepper in Kerala is that most of the vines are too old and infested with pests and diseases.

One of the highlights of the programme is the promotion of homestead cultivation of bush pepper. “There is very limited scope for bringing more area under pepper cultivation. Bush pepper can be grown as an ornamental plant in pots or bags.

Easy to manage and harvest, it provides an additional income for households”, says Mr. Ajithkumar.

The scheme envisages the establishment of good quality progeny orchards at 11 department farms to produce nutmeg grafts for distribution to farmers. Clove seedlings will also be supplied under the programme.

Productivity improvement of organic turmeric and ginger is another part of the scheme.

Retrieved from – http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/spices-production-to-get-a-boost/article6282730.ece

APPL targeting organic tea market

Eyeing European markets for export and tying up with large format retail stores in India, Amalgamated Plantations Pvt Ltd (APPL), a Tata Enterprise, is trying to capture large part of the Rs 640-crore organic tea market in India.

“The organic tea business is growing by 15 per cent every year. For us, that is the only way to go. In the export market, we are targeting European countries like Germany and Japan besides US and UK,” Deepak Atal, managing director of the second largest tea producer in India, told reporters here today.

In the Indian market, they are tying up with large retail chains like Walmart, Nilgiri and Spencer”s.

“Consumers are now more health conscious than ever before and when we market it rightly with these retail chains, the scope in organic tea market is tremendous,” he said.

In 2011 their Hathikuli Tea Estate spread across 687 hectares in Assam”s Golaghat district near Kaziranga National Park was certified as organic. It was recently awarded at the Sanctuary Asia Wildlife Awards in Mumbai for protecting biodiversity.

“Initially the production fell from 8 lakh kg to 3.5 lakh kg because we were not using fertilizers to control pests. But now the production has started increasing gradually and in the next 2-3 years we will return to the 8 lakh figure,” Atal said.

For marketing in the European market, the tea estate is also in the process of being certified as a Rain-forest Alliance (RA) for its eco-friendly practices.

From the last one year, their two other tea estates in Assam – Diffloo and Teok – have been using only bio- fertilizers.

“But there has been no drop in yield. So from next year we will extend bio-fertilizers to all estates in a phased manner. It will reduce the chemical load on soil and increase its productivity and health in the long term,” the official said.

At present, APPL has 21 tea gardens in Assam and 4 in West Bengal.

Along with tea, they have been growing spices like pepper, ginger, turmeric, etc as multi-crop plantation.

“We are now installing a food processing unit near Guwahati for our agri-business. Some of these products will be sold as our brands while others will be sold to the large retail chains,” Atal said.

Retrieved from – http://news.in.msn.com/business/article.aspx?cp-documentid=251604632


Government to set up spices parks in Meghalaya, Assam

SHILLONG: The Centre is keen on setting up a spices parks in Meghalaya and Assam to promote value addition and help farmers by reducing their dependence on middlemen, an official said today.

A feasibility study for the park in Meghalaya is under the process of preparation by the IIM-Shillong for which the report is awaiting, Deputy Director (Regional office) Spices Board, Government of India, B J Brahma, said at the sideline of a workshop on Organic spices and value addition in Shillong.

The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry will provide funding for the proposed Spices’ Park, he said.

According to the Spice Board official, the park, ideally to be within the reach of the spice-farming community, should have common infrastructure and should not be less than 10 acres.

The Spices park will act as a common centre where farmers bring in their produces in bulks. Grading, quality control, value addition and packaging will be done before it is handed over to exporters, the Spice Board official said.

In 2009-10, Meghalaya produces 50,286 MT of ginger and 10,046 MT of ginger besides 1423 MT and 462 MT of chillies and black pepper. Assam on the other hand, produces Bhut Jhalokia and mustard besides ginger and turmeric and is considered the gate to the North East, Brahma said.

The region has also exported 37,38,597 MT tonne of spices, mainly fresh ginger and fresh turmeric, to neighbouring countries Bangladesh and Myanmar in the recent past, could further its export after the value addition is done and the quality is improved, Brahma said.

Once value addition is done and quality is improved at these common infrastructure for the farmers, the spices could command a higher price value at the International markets, Brahma said.

The Lakadong turmeric produced in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills district could command a high market prices after value addition at the park, he said.

Retrieved from – http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-05-16/news/31726901_1_value-addition-spices-park-spices-parks

Cheaper Indian ginger surpasses export target

KOCHI, MARCH 8: Shipments of Indian ginger have surpassed the Union Commerce Ministry’s and the Spices Board’s nine-month target for the current fiscal. Demand for the Indian produce has gone up as it is ruling $500 a tonne below the international price, trade sources said.

Matching demand and supply in the local market is likely to keep prices steady to firm for some time now, they said. The crop during the current season is not double the output of last year as was projected earlier but marginally above it, they added.

During April-December last year, the country shipped out 12,150 tonnes of ginger worth Rs 141.08 crore at a unit value of Rs 116.12 a kg, as against the target of 10,000 tonnes valued at Rs 90 crore, according to the Spices Board. Exports during the same period last fiscal were 10,100 tonnes valued at Rs 54.68 crore at a unit value of Rs 54.4 a kg.


Cultivation of the good variety ginger used for making dry ginger has come down in recent years in the absence of remunerative prices, Mr P.V. Eliyas, a vegetable ginger grower in Karnataka, told Business Line. Hardly 10 per cent of the area under ginger is used for cultivating the dry ginger variety, he said.

Vegetable ginger prices fell sharply this year to Rs 400-500 for a 60-kg bag (Rs 1,200), he said. On the other hand, production cost comes to Rs 900-1,000 for 60 kg, he said. Many farmers had grown this variety this year encouraged by the higher prices last year, leading to a huge output, Mr Eliyas said.

High-quality fibreless Cochin and Himachal raw ginger, used for drying, have come down to Rs 1,500-1,800 for a 60-kg bag against Rs 2,300-2,500 last year, he said. “When one tonne of this variety is dried we will get around 300-350 kg of dried ginger.” It is mainly grown in Kerala’s Palakkad district and in parts of Ernakulam and Idukki districts and Shimoga and Chickmagalur areas in Karnataka.

Kochi-based ginger traders said non-remunerative prices consequent to increased imports had led to gradual disappearance of cultivation of the well-known Cochin Ginger, popular in the international spices industry.

Cochin ginger is considered one of the best in the world because of “its characteristic lemon-like flavour” and the absence of fibre content, export sources said. It is usually traded at a premium.

Apart from this variety, a high oil content ginger was also grown in the high ranges of Idukki in and around Rajkumari and Kunjithanni areas, popularly known as Ellakalan.

However, ever since extraction units in the country, which were mainly consuming this variety, switched over to imported low-oil content but cheaper Nigerian or Ethiopian ginger, this variety has slowly vanished.

Reference – http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/agri-biz/article2974464.ece