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Spices in India is popularly known as Masale. The history and culture of Indian spices is probably as old as human civilization itself. The Vedas, the Bible and the Quran are all replete with references - direct or indirect - to Indian spices. The earliest literary record in India on spices is the Rig Veda (around 6000 BC), and the other three Vedas - Yajur, Sama and Atharva. Spices constitute an important group of agricultural commodities, which are virtually indispensable in the culinary art. They can be primarily defined as farm products used in various forms viz; fresh, ripe, dried, broken, powdered etc. Out of the 109 spices listed by the ISO, India produces as many as 75 in its various agro climatic regions. India accounts for about 45% (2, 50,000tons) of the global spice exports, though exports constitute only some 8% of the estimated annual production. Over all, spices are grown in some 2.9 million hectares in the country (ISB 2014). Spice production in India, as much of the agriculture in the country, is undertaken in millions of tiny holdings and determine the livelihood of large number of the rural population. Productivity of spices is highest in Uttarakhand (7.21MT/ha) against national average of 1.8 MT/ha (State Horticulture Mission Govt. of Uttarakhand, 2014-15).
Rosane Cavalcante Fragoso, Brasil
Chief Scientific Officer and Head of a Research Group
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