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National workshop calls for technology outreach, marketing strategy for spices

Spices sector in India is witnessing a steady growth despite the challenges thrown in by the COVID-19 pandemic, reviewers at the 31st annual workshop of the All India Coordinated Research Project on Spices (AICRPS) have observed.

The AICRPS under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) discussed the scope of spice sector in the country and evaluated the major hurdles.The two-day workshop which was opened at the ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR) on Tuesday pinpointed that the export of many major spices increased steadily despite Covid- 19 pandemic.

The workshop stressed on the importance of technology outreach and trait specific adaptation of varieties.Giving more thrust to researches which can reduce pesticide use in spice crops could improve the export potential, said Dr. R Chandra Babu, vice chancellor of  Kerala Agricultural University, during the inaugural address.

Pesticide residue in cardamom is a major bottleneck for cardamom export and such issues could be addressed with more focus on organic cultivation of spices, he observed.According to Dr. Chandra Babu, the research institutions should design efficient marketing strategies for technologies and take active interest in the spread and adoption of improved varieties.

Better times are ahead for the spices as the export demand has risen at the global level, said
Dr. A K Singh, Deputy Director General of ICAR. To improve productivity and export growth, the research institutions should actively engage with the farming community to sensitize them with the market scenario and the government policies, suggested Dr. Singh. He stressed that the research organisations should make use of the information and communication technology to bridge the communication gap between the experts and the farmers.

Raigarh centre of Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Raipur was conferred with the best
AICRPS centre Award for the year 2019-20. The workshop also witnessed the release of
seven extension publications and 3 technical bulletins. Dr. Vikramaditya Pandey, assistant director general of ICAR was the guest of honour at the inaugural session. Dr. N Krishnakumar (chairman; Research Advisory Committee of IISR),Dr. Homey Cheriyan (Director, Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development), Dr.Santhosh J Eapen (project coordinator and director of IISR), Dr. Gopal Lal (Director, ICAR-National Research Centre on Seed Spices) and Dr. K NirmalBabu (former project coordinator and director ICAR-IISR and AICRPS) also addressed the inaugural session. The workshop will review the progress of various research projects and varieties in the pipeline. The programme will conclude on Wednesday.

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