Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma attended the International Buyer Seller Meet and Spices Conclave program organized by the Spices Board of India for the North Eastern Region on Thursday.
Chief Minister said that Northeastern India could emerge as a major supplier of organic foods to the World as everyone is on the lookout for healthy foods that are at par with the international standards of food safety and quality and free from any chemical residues and other contaminants.
The event was organized in line with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promote India’s rich heritage of traditional spices, herbs, and medicinal plants across the world and as well as to facilitate the growth and development of spices, condiments, and similar products from the regions. Foreign buyers, the major exporters, farmers, and traders from the North-East attended the gathering.
CM Sarma stated that India had been known globally for its home-grown spices. The spices and herbs in the country play roles that go way beyond cooking and are regularly used for their curative and therapeutic properties. He mentioned that India produces about 75 of the 109 varieties of spices listed by the International Organization for Standardization.
The Northeastern regions have acquired special attention on the global map owing to the quality of spices that are considered organic, said the Chief Minister. Assam produces nearly 3.1 lakh metric tonnes of spices annually. The State holds a major share in the production of spices such as ginger, turmeric, coriander, mustard, chili, garlic, etc. He also said that being the gateway of the North-East, with better connectivity and fast developing infrastructural facilities, the State has the potential to be a hub for post-harvest processing and value addition. Spices from the region can become one of the main exporting hubs, he said.
Moreover, Sarma said that steps are taken to make the best use of the “Prime Minister’s Developmental Initiative for North East (PM-DevINE)” and “One District One Product (ODOP)” schemes. To convert the ‘by-default organic’ tag of the spices produced in the region to ‘certified organic’ or ‘organic by design’ to realize the maximum potential of the spices sector.
The Chief Minister also informed that under the ODOP scheme, several districts in Assam have identified spices as their focus crop. Spices, such as turmeric from Bongaigaon; mustard seeds and mustard products from the districts of Darrang, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, and Majuli; ginger from the districts of Karbi Anglong, West Karbi-Anglong, and Dima Hasao; and chili from Dhubri and Jorhat.