The Regional Expert Consultation Meeting on Technology Sharing of Spice Crops in SAARC Countries was inaugurated by Dr P Rajendran, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of Kerala Agricultural University at ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kozhikode. In his inaugural speech he highlighted the importance of Spices Sector in India which contributes 6% of the GDP and reiterated the creation of a spice genetic pool for sharing among the SAARC countries.
He further emphasized the importance of creation of seed bank and provision for exchange of planting material and corpus fund for trade issues among SAARC countries. In his Presidential Address, Dr Homey Cheriyan, Director, Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development, Kozhikode stressed that ‘we are witnessing an increase in productivity of spices due to improved varieties and technological interventions, though there is an urgent need for new policy initiatives to confront the challenges facing spice production’.
Dr Pradyumna Raj Pandey, Senior Program Specialist (Crops), SAARC Agriculture Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh explained the concept, purpose and objectives of the meeting, while Dr K Nirmal Babu, Director, ICAR-IISR, Kozhikode welcomed the gathering and underlined the importance of knowledge sharing on spices among the SAARC members. The Technology Exhibition Pavilion was inaugurated by Smt. Geetha, Principal Agricultural Officer, Department of Agriculture, Government of Kerala.
The three day meeting is being attended by scientists and policy makers from six member countries of SAARC (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, India). The second day of the meeting involved country presentations from India, Nepal and Sri Lanka followed by a brainstorming session involving experts from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and India on Policy and Technological Interventions for Spices Value Chain Development in South Asia. The following were the major recommendations: