The U.S.’ $3-billion spices export business has found an unlikely ally in COVID-19 as the pandemic appears to have added a new sheen to the export of spices considered to boost physical immunity.“Export of the spices like ginger, turmeric, coriander and cumin has shown a sizable increase” during April-July this year when compared to the same period last year, said D. Sathiyan, secretary of the Spices Board here on Wednesday.The increased demand is seen in big markets like the USA and Europe, he said, as he underlined how India had emerged as the largest exporter of spices in the world, ready to meet the increased demand.“How far we have succeeded in utilising this opportunity commercially will be known in the near future. The current indication is positive”, he said. Demand from other countries like Bangladesh, Morocco, Iran, Malaysia, China and Pakistan is also showing encouraging signs.A communication from the Spices Board earlier this year had said that the spice which showed the most promise in 2019-20 was ginger, which registered an increase of 178% in volume of exports and 129% in value at 50,410 tonnes and ₹449 crore in value.Spices export business crossed the US$3 billion-mark during 2019-20 for the first time with 10% growth in value even though the overall exports from the country showed a decrease of 5% for the whole of 2019-20.An initial estimate for the April-July 2020 period showed that around 4,33,000 tonnes of spices valued at ₹7,760 crore were exported against 3,92,265 tonnes valued at ₹7,028 crore exported during the same period last year. This is a growth of 10% in terms of both volume and value.Indian spices and spice products earned ₹21,515.4 crore (US$3033.44 million) with a volume of 11,83,000 tonnes in 2019-20. The export achievement exceeded the target in terms of volume, rupee value and dollar earning. Chilli continued to be the most in demand spice with exports of 4,84,000 tonnes worth ₹6,221.70 crore during 2019-20.
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