Gujarat slips three ranks down in spices output, as production dips 20 per cent

Erratic rainfall, scarcity of water and unfavourable weather conditions have seen Gujarat displaced from its position of India’s top spice-producing state and pushed down to number four, government data showed.

The overall spice production in Gujarat has fallen to 8.68 lakh tonnes from 10.78 lakh tonnes in 2015-16, a drop of around 20 per cent.

Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh have taken the top three positions, according to the preliminary estimates released by the government, even though officials say that the area of sowing has remained constant at around 500,000 hectares.

In 2016-17, spice production in the state was 8.73 lakh tonnes. Gujarat produces ginger, chillies, turmeric, garlic, coriander, cumin, fennel, and fenugreek.

Rajasthan and others states have been able to improve productivity. In Rajasthan, the area of sowing was 10.04 lakh hectares and the production was 10.56 lakh tonnes in 2015-16. In 2017-18, on the same area of sowing, the production increased to 13.91 lakh tonnes, senior officials said.

Winter may not have set in during the time of flowering or the number of cold days may have been fewer over the past two seasons, affecting production in Gujarat. Moreover, this year, there has been a scarcity of water. Unseasonal rains and the delayed onset of winter also hit spice production in the state.

Sowing of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and spices in 2017-18 was over an area of 16.10 lakh hectares against 16.22 lakh hectares in 2016-17. Production of various crops in 2017-18 was 234.02 lakh tonnes in Guajarat against 236.27 lakh tonnes in 2015-16.

Data from ministry of agriculture shows that fruits were sowed over 4.11 lakh hectares in the state and the production was 89.37 lakh tonnes. Vegetables were sowed over 6.44 lakh hectares generating a production of 131.61 lakh tonnes.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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