Noting that advanced practices with an eye on global standards are key to ensure success in the global market, Governor of Kerala Justice (retd) P Sathasivam today said that cultivators of spices should be encouraged to think globally and make use of the latest farming technologies.
Inaugurating the fourth session of the Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs established under Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), Sathasivam said it was important to help Indian farmers by stepping up supports like better storage facilities, which in turn would facilitate consistent supply for value addition, so as to enable them to keep abreast with their counterparts from other countries that have made a strong presence in the global market.
Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu wished success to the five-day meet through video conferencing. In his message, the Minister said with the implementation of agriculture export policy, importance has been given to promotion of organic spices’ exports.
“Ensuring transparency and equality in fixing global quality standards for spices and herbs can strengthen the global food safeguard without compromising on safety,” the Governor said, opening the conference at Hotel The Leela, Kovalam.
According to him, the success of smaller countries lay in the importance they attach to the global standards of the agricultural products.
“Our efforts have helped to increase our agricultural output in spices but we need to double our installed capacity for storage facilities so that value-addition also becomes easier. Most importantly, let’s ensure that ordinary farmers get knowledge about value-addition and access to the technologies used in agriculture in conformity with global standards,” he stressed.
Sathasivam suggested that committees like CCSCH should interact more often with farmers to create awareness about global standards. “Kerala has suffered a production loss of more than 25,000 tones of spices valued at Rs1,254 crore in recent floods . This session’s plan to deliberate draft standards for cardamom and turmeric is truly laudable since they are among the crops that dominate the spices cultivation in Kerala,” the Governor added.
Delivering the keynote address, Rita Teaotia, Chairperson, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), said in the previous three sessions, the CCSCH succeeded in getting approval of the Codex Alimentarius Commission for three standards: black, white and green pepper; cumin and thyme.
In his welcome address, Dr M. K. Shanmuga Sundaram, Secretary, Spices Board, said: “The session is expected to adopt the draft standards for selected spices and herbs and also pave the way for adoption of more standards that will remove trade barriers, ensure greater transparency towards fixing global quality standards for spices and culinary herbs and strengthen the global food sector without compromising on safety.”
At the ongoing meet, the CCSCH will deliberate on draft standards for oregano, basil, ginger, garlic, chilli pepper and paprika, nutmeg, saffron and cloves, which are in the form of reports of Electronic Working Groups (eWGs) established by the previous session held at Chennai in February 2017. More than 100 delegates from 30 countries are participating in the meet.
Two new work proposals — draft standards for turmeric and small cardamom — will also be taken up for deliberations so as to develop harmonized standards for global trade in these two much in demand spices.
M. Saravanan, Director (Plantations), Ministry of Commerce and Industry; and Dr. M.R. Sudharshan, Chairman, CCSCH, were also present on the occasion. Dr. A.B. Rema Shree, Director, Research, Spices Board, proposed a vote of thanks.
Set up in 1963, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is an intergovernmental body established jointly by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), within the framework of the Joint Food Standards Programme to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade.