‘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

*Edited

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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

As food processing potential increases, US imports turmeric from India

Due to its medicinal properties, turmeric is finding huge potential in the processed food industries of the United States, and importing larger quantities from India, the largest producer of the spice.

According to data by the United Nations, the import of turmeric in the US has tripled from 2008, and the majority of it is from India. The demand for turmeric has increased due to the realisation of nutritional and medicinal values of this humble spice.

According to reports India’s Spice Board (headquartered in Kochi), the worldwide export of turmeric from India has increased to 60 per cent from 2008.

The US has already started a wide range of research about nutritional and medicinal properties of turmeric. The spice is used to cure such diseases as cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, Crohn’s disease and even depression.

Though turmeric is imported from India, they also plan to cultivate this spice on their land to reach the domestic demand. “The market for turmeric-based supplements in the US has grown by almost 31 per cent to $108 million,” revealed a recent study by Nutrition Business Journal.

The spice has been termed a super-food in the US processed food market, and a number of companies are now offering products containing turmeric. These are poised to increase in future.

The demand for turmeric supplements is higher in the US beverage sector. Turmeric juice and other food supplements are being increasingly sold in the US market.

The Spice Board of India has identified a huge demand from the Middle-East as well. This would be beneficial to turmeric farmers across India.

An official from the Trade Information Service Department of the Spice Board, said, “The demand for turmeric has increased of late, and we are able to export a better quality of it to these countries.”

“As the demand is increasing in the US, they have plans to grow their own turmeric to meet the domestic demand,” he added. The official said, “Only if India can supply high-quality spices consistently, we can stay in the market. Though the market has good potential, only fair players can continue in the market.”

“Unlike other spices, it demands very less attention from the farmer and can fight its own diseases,” he added.

“Then it helps us to fight our diseases also. Thanks to its therapeutic qualities, the demand for turmeric is growing all over the world,” the official stated. “More than 90 per cent of curcumin, extracted from turmeric, is used to make nutraceuticals and dietary supplements” he added.

S Suresh, assistant director, Spices Board, said, “India is the top producer of turmeric in the world. The Spice Board conducted thorough checks for Sudan and Aflotoxin contamination.”

“This ensured the quality of our spices. The various turmeric-producing states in India were able to produce enough to supply it to the US, the Middle-East, Canada, Japan and Australia,” he added.

The medicinal and nutritional qualities of turmeric, which has been used in Indian cuisine for several years, were revealed centuries ago.

Retrieved from – http://www.fnbnews.com/article/detnews.asp?articleid=35318&sectionid=45

Tea major forays into spice trade

Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited is planning to introduce a brand of spices sourced from the Northeast, including pepper from its plantations, in the national market.
Pepper being grown in a nursery inside an APPL garden.

Guwahati, July 14: Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited, the second largest tea producer in the country, is all set to launch its brand of spices.

The tea major, which has been growing other crops on its estates, is aiming big vis-à-vis spices and wants to become a national player within five years.

“The idea is to have fair price aggregation and develop market linkages with the organised sector. APPL’s vision is to become the preferred provider of agri business supply solutions in the Northeast to ultimately benefit the farmer,” Prabir Banerjea, the chief operating officer of APPL’s agri business division, told The Telegraph.

The company is growing only black pepper — the most traded spice in the world — in its gardens. Black pepper, known as the king of spices, is known for its hot, biting flavour and pungent aroma. The latest price for black pepper in India ranges from Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000 per quintal. The company sources other spices from different states of the region.

“The brand names are being shortlisted and our brands could hit the market by August,” Banerjea said.

The company started growing black pepper commercially from 2007 and the yield this year was 24 metric tonnes — 20 per cent higher than last year. As on date, the company has 200 hectares under black pepper cultivation.

He said the company planned to announce the origin of the produce and their USPs across marketing channels in the organised sector, as “at present, spices from the Northeast are being sold in mandis and nobody knows where these are coming from”.

Independent nurseries have been set up in all gardens to ensure self-sufficiency in planting material and high-yielding and drought-resistant varieties have been sourced from south India.

Banerjea said single polished turmeric fingers with specified curcumin content were recently sent to Olam International — a leading global integrated supply chain manager and processor of agricultural products and food ingredients — for export. “This is for the first time spices have been exported from the Northeast,” he said. The turmeric was mainly sourced from Assam’s Karbi Anglong district.

The company is also setting up a state of the art processing and packaging plant for spices and fruits aggregated from the Northeast at the North East Mega Food Park in Tihu. Construction will commence after the monsoon this year and trial production will start from the winter of 2014.

The official said the company’s entry into the spices sector in the Northeast would create national links for local produce, benefiting the farming community of the region.

Spices are high value export-oriented commodities, which play an important role in the country’s agricultural economy, as India is the principal source of spices in the global market. In the Northeast, black pepper is mainly grown in Meghalaya, which produces about 400 metric tonnes of the spice annually.

According to Spices Board, the Northeast has tremendous potential for largescale production of spices and it is anticipated that the region can create exportable surpluses at competitive prices, ensuring that the country stays on top in the international spices market.

In fact, the spices sector has been making strides in the Northeast and Spices Board has proposed an outlay of Rs 66.75 crore in the Twelfth Plan to promote the sector in the region. The Twelfth Plan focus is on development of large cardamom and other spices with respect to area expansion, irrigation and land development, mechanization, organic farming and post-harvest processing.

Retrieved from – http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130715/jsp/northeast/story_17115030.jsp#.UeN3b9Iqdsl

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