32nd Annual Group Meeting of AICRPS

National workshop calls for expanding cultivation of spices to non-traditional areas 
Spices sector in India is witnessing a steady growth despite the challenges thrown in by the COVID-19 pandemic, reviewers at the 32nd annual group meeting of the All India Coordinated Research Project on Spices (AICRPS) have observed. The AICRPS under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) discussed the export of spice sector in the country and evaluated the major challenges.
The two-day workshop which was opened at the ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR) on Wednesday pinpointed that the export of many major spices increased steadily despite Covid- 19 pandemic. The workshop stressed on the importance of expanding spice cultivation to non-traditional areas and development of ecology system based soil and crop health management.
Giving more thrust to researches which can improve the value addition in spice could further improve the export potential, said Prof. Jeet Singh Sandhu, Vice Chancellor, SKNAU, Jobner during the inaugural address. He also emphasized the importance of breeding and mechanization in spices. 
Better times are ahead for the spices as the export demand has risen at the global level, said Dr. A K Singh, Deputy Director General of ICAR, New Delhi. Dr. Singh suggested that to improve the export growth, the research institutions should actively engage with the farming community to sensitize them with the market scenario and the government policies. He also highlighted that research organisations need to study the impact of soil profile and microflora population on the quality  of spices and also to undertake studies on mapping of non-traditional areas for commercial production of spice crops. 
Dr. Vikramaditya Pandey, Assistant Director General (HS I) of ICAR was the guest of honour at the inaugural session. Dr. Pandey emphasized the urgent need to address the gap in productivity of spices grown under different systems and also to concentrate on the emergence of new pest and diseases. 
Hisar centre of Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University was conferred with the best AICRPS centre Award for the year 2020-21. The group meeting also witnessed the release of nine extension publications and two  technical bulletins. Unique spice based products developed with indigenous ingredients by Mr.Aloak Menon ( M/S Spizar Pvt.Ltd),  an on-campus incubate of Institute Technology Management- Business and Planning Development unit of  ICAR-IISR was launched during the inaugural session. 
Dr. J Rema (Project coordinator and Director of ICAR-IISR), Dr. Homey Cherian (Director, Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development) and Dr. S.N. Saxena (Director, ICAR- National Research Centre on Seed Spices) also addressed the inaugural session.
The workshop will review the progress of various research projects and varieties in the pipeline. The programme will conclude on Friday.