In 2019 Arunachal Pradesh managed to export 5,020 MT spices valued at Rs 24.89 crore. In the next 5-6 years the state aims to double the production of large cardamom Credit: NERAMAC

Itanagar: Agriculture and Horticulture minister Tage Taki on Wednesday said that Arunachal Pradesh is all set to double the production of large cardamom in the next 5-6 years.

“Arunachal has been taking several steps to streamline the production of spices such as large cardamom, turmeric, ginger, and chillies. Last year, we managed to export 5,020 MT spices valued at Rs 24.89 crore. In the next 5-6 years, we aim to double the production of large cardamom,” Taki who was addressing a global webinar on the topic “Local to Global – Spices of India,” he said.

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Taki was the guest of honour at a webinar organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). He also spoke about the several challenges which the government is trying to address.

“There are severe price fluctuations. The price was between Rs 1,200-1,300 per kg, but has now come down to Rs 400-450 per kg. This is not due to demand-supply mismatch but due to the manipulation of middlemen. This will be, however, addressed,” he said.

Spices Board officer demonstrating phytosanitation measures for Chirkey disease management for large cardamom farmers in Khonsa, Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh

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The minister said Arunachal is also taking steps to promote the cultivation of organically-grown spices. “While it is not possible to cultivate everything organically at the same time, we are doing it in a phased manner. Almost 5,000 hectares of land consciously have been brought under organic farming, and another 5,000 hectares have already been identified for a similar process,” he said while adding that the new farmers have already opted for organic farming.

Taki further stated that India has been a house of spices since time immemorial. “Demand for Indian spices is due to their aroma, taste, and medicinal value. Spices are one of the natural contributors to India’s export kitty and a major source of income for the country. Today, spice contributes around 4% to the country’s GDP. Its prominence in recent times has gone up due to technological advancements,” he said.

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Speaking as the chief guest of the webinar Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Kailash Choudhary, said that since ancient times, India has been an important global player in spices. “Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the demand for Indian spices has gone up exponentially due to its medicinal value and to boost one’s immunity. The Government of India has been taking active steps to promote the same,” he said.

Choudhary said that the central government has spent almost Rs 1 lakh crore to create the agriculture infrastructure. “The government is also giving out loans worth Rs 3 crore without any collateral to smaller businesses in this space. The rate of interest is almost 3% lower, and the borrower has to repay the money over seven years. The money is again given to other businesses on rotation, thus creating additional job opportunities,” he said.

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