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WSO to Host 1st National Spice Conference to Build Food Safety Awareness

Changing consumer and demand patterns, fundamental issues with sustainability and biodiversity, innovations and new trends in value chain partnerships, trends that could result in trade barriers, and stringent, long-standing safety standards are all topics that will be covered at the conference.

Shivam Dwivedi

World Spice Organization (WSO), a not-for-profit technical partner of the All-India Spices Exporters Forum (AISEF), is organizing the first National Spice Conference (NSC) in Mumbai at Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport on 6th and 7th October 2022. WSO is organizing this in collaboration with GIZ and IDH- the Sustainable Trade Initiative.

The conference will be attended by heads of Indian Regulatory Authorities- FSSAI, IISR, National Research Organizations; experienced scientists from National Research Organizations; and senior executives from leading spice-related firms. Rainforest Alliance, GIZ, and IDH, leaders of international NGOs working on sustainable agriculture, will also be present at NSC 2022.

The two-day conference will focus on the theme "Food Safe Spices: Getting the Basics Right" with the primary objective of addressing the challenges of overall food safety. The conference will also cover emerging trends in food safety regulations, changing consumer and demand patterns, ground-level challenges for sustainability and biodiversity, innovations and new trends in value chain partnerships, trends that may lead to trade barriers, and strict, long-standing safety standards. The cutting-edge technologies and innovation both at farm and processing levels will also be discussed which will support the spice industry.

Sharing insights on the spice industry, Ramkumar Menon, Chairman, World Spice Organisation, said “India is the world's largest producer, exporter, and consumer of spices, accounting for more than 48% of global demand. Spice exports from India have been increasing and are expected to reach $1605 million in the April-August 2022 quarter. However, the industry is being challenged by new international safety, sustainability, and traceability standards. Approximately 85% of all spices produced in India are consumed domestically. Hence, ensuring high-quality spices are traded within India is critical. Through the National Spice Conference, we want to show how important food safety is in general, especially for spices.”

The World Spice Organization initiated this to bring together Farmer Producers' Organizations (FPOs) representing approximately 20,000 farmers for the first time to raise awareness and collaboration on food safety practices, as the Indian government strives to provide people with clean and hygienic food by implementing stringent food safety measures.

The efforts are also to harmonize quality and food safety parameters to align with Codex and International standards. The event's goal is to help farmers understand the importance of sustainable spice production and quality assurance. This will benefit farmers' livelihoods and increase the marketability of their produce.

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