India has been known for its spices. In fact, it is safe to state that we are as a nation today, is to a large extent, shaped by spices and their trade, which made India a melting pot of cultures and one of the trading hotspots in the modern historic era. Farming at large, spice farming in particular, has contributed greatly to the growth of the nation and its economy. With rapid globalization and the exchange of culinary platter across cultures and geographies, spices show great promise.
The modern-day scenario for spice farmers is partly promising and partly challenging. Spices have always been a big export opportunity despite the massive consumption within the country. The big four – Chilli, Cumin, Coriander and Turmeric – are exported in significant quantities from India, across the globe. The packaged food industry within the country has also led to a massive intake of these spices.
Despite the promise, there remain certain areas, which need to be looked at. Traceability is a complex issue, even more so when it comes to spices. The same spices which are known to boost our immunity can work against it. Food traceability in the spice food chain is important to establish that the spices that add harmful flavor to our food are free from pesticides, additives, and climate change effects. It is important for us to ascertain that the spices we buy, as an individual or as a producer of food products, are safe for consumption since some culinary herbs and spices tend to get contaminated, if not handled well.
As far as spices are concerned, Nestlé India is one of the biggest users of spices in this country. MAGGI’s legacy of almost four decades rests on the rich aroma of the tastemaker and how it became a must-have in the kitchen, across households. Nestlé launched the MAGGI spice plan that ensures sustainable sourcing of spices by working on three aspects – Planet, People and Profits. The plan works on the environmental sustainability of farms, safe living and working conditions for the people on the farms. Most importantly, the program works towards providing a resilient livelihood farmers and farm profitability for its. The spice plan, today, ensures traceability, which is important to establish that the spices are free from harmful pesticides, additives, and climate change effects, and is touching the lives of almost 1,300 farmers every year, spread across 39 villages in 7 states.
As the use of spices continues to expand and develop, it is important to continue to focus on soil health, reduction in water wastage, eliminating pesticide residue, improving profitability, and enhancing biodiversity to augment the income of the farmers, and improve the overall environment of these farms.
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