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Pepper variants, cumin, thyme from India pave the way for global tradeWednesday, October 18, 2017 > 10:20:49
India’s efforts to benchmark itself into the global spice trade, recently have paved the way for Codex standards for three spices namely black, white and green (BWG) pepper, cumin and thyme. The approval of the adoption of standards for the three spices is expected to facilitate the evolution of a common standardisation process for their global trade and availability.
The need for Codex standards for spices and herbs was felt with a rise in the number of quality and safety issues of spices. India's export of spices has been rising in the past few years. It reached a record 947,790 tonnes valued at Rs 17,664 lakh in 2016-17.
The members countries of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), the international food standard-setting body adopted this standards at its 40th session which was held in the month of July at Geneva.
Commenting on the ease in the process for the exporters after getting the approval Ram Kumar Menon, head, business committee, All India Spices Exporters Forum (AISEF), said, “Approval of Codex standards will be of immense help to exporters especially from developing countries since it will facilitate their trade and lead to easing of trade barriers and lead to greater transparency in export. Codex encourages countries to harmonise their national standards with those of Codex taking the latter to be a reference point.
He added, “This move will be of benefit to the spice industry and trade since spice standards can vary from region to region and between countries as well. Such multiple standards make it very confusing for farmers and the rest of the stakeholders in the supply chain. A common or harmonised standard will help in suppliers understanding requirements of customers better, support more efficient production practices and facilitate trade to the benefit of developing countries. It will eliminate trade barriers and help trigger a consultation and cooperation process among producing and consuming countries. It should also be noted that standardisation of spices and herbs would bring about uniformity in certification and enable cost efficiency.”
More spices and herbs
Meanwhile, Kantipudi Nirmal Babu, director, ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kerala said, “The adoption of the Codex standards for three spices (black pepper, cumin and thyme) by the CAC is a pathbreaking development in the area of spices trading and market development. It brings to focus, the issue of quality and safety to the forefront of spice trading. We hope that more spices and herbs will be added to this list. The move is especially beneficial for India, the largest importer and exporter of spices. The USP for Indian Black pepper is its intrinsic quality and the establishment and acceptance of Codex standards will ensure that there is no dilution with respect to quality parameters. This will also indirectly help the black pepper farming community by accelerating the process of weeding out sources of low quality black pepper, which has the potential to destabilise domestic black pepper prices realised by the primary producers.”
“An estimate of the impact of Codex standards on black pepper trade volumes cannot be made at this point of time. However, we expect that quality standards will benefit Indian black pepper trade since the produce from India is known for its superior quality. India can leverage its reputation as a source of high quality black pepper to strengthen and diversify its black pepper trade.” he added.
The Codex standards were adopted in the wake of India conducting three sessions of Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) in Kochi (in 2014), Goa (in 2015) and Chennai (in 2017). Succeeding in achieving this consensus at the Chennai session, the adopted standards got an overwhelming support from the members countries. It is important to note here that, spices have been included for the first time as commodities that will have such universal standards, which are jointly formed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).