Visakhapatnam, Feb 25: The e-Spice Bazaar, a unique project of the Spices Board to ensure traceability of Indian spice farmers in international markets and determine the quality and price of their produce for export purposes, was officially launched by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Shri N Chandrababu Naidu here today.
The Board’s e-Spice Bazaar Farmer Traceability Project, being executed with support from the Central Government’s Department of Electronics (DeitY), seeks to incorporate all commercial spices grown in the country, bring spice farmers in the global supply chain with identification of traceability at source, and generate direct linkage with exports to get a premium price.
Started two years ago in Prakasam and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh and Warangal and Khamam districts in Telangana, the project currently covers 52,000 chilli and turmeric farmers in these four districts.
The portal, as a part of traceability, quality assurance and enrollment activity, was launched at the Andhra Pradesh government’s Partnership Summit 2018 event here. Dr. K. Hari Babu, MP, was among the dignitaries present on the occasion.
Spices Board Chairman Dr. A Jayathilak said the project has now undergone a digital transformation by creating a portal — www.espicebazaar.com – in three languages of Hindi, Telugu and English. It is reaching farmers in 47 mandals covering 517 villages in these two states.
In addition to the chilli and turmeric farmers in four districts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the portal has also data base of pepper and turmeric farmers of the tribal belt of the Vizag Agency area and curry leaf growers of Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh, with Global Location Numbers (GLNs). In Andhra Pradesh, it covers 30,000 chilli and turmeric farmers from Prakasam and Guntur districts.
“Under the project, all spice farmers are allotted unique GLNs for international traceability. GLNs are allotted by GS1 (Global Standards One), the organisation for traceability solutions. All the details of spice farmers are made available in the GS1’s Global Data Dictionary (GSS) for traceability and this ensures maximum visibility to them,” he added.
The portal features the farmer with his farm, crop, crop practices, application of pesticides and chemicals, besides the harvest and harvested quantities. Farmers and farms are surveyed by field coordinators, who maintain the link with the farmers and farmer groups by providing technical and training support to them. The field coordinators upload the data on the web portal using android tabs and they also help the farmer in getting required data on prices, climate, quality, diseases, pests and application of pesticides, if required.
The farmers are encouraged to test their harvested produce and host the test certificate on the portal to ensure transparency and credibility. Buyers of spices have also been listed on the portal to enable direct buying from the farms based on the quality and variety required for the export purchase.
“The portal enables the farmers to quote their sale prices. This is perhaps for the first time that a farmer is getting the freedom to dictate his price. The buyers registered on the portal are also given the option to offer their quote for the purchase while the Field Level Coordinators help the farmers in matching the offers,” Dr Jayathilak said.
“The e-Spice Bazaar ensures total integration of all the agencies involved into spices production and exports. The farmers are also helped through technological advises from scientists in universities and other research stations,” he said, adding: “There is a live contact between the administrative segment of the e-Spice Bazaar and the farmers.”
The project puts a lot of emphasis on the formation of farmer groups and Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) as these platforms make it easier for the farmers to communicate with the upcountry buyers. The FPOs are being formed under the aegis of NABARD and horticulture/agriculture department of a state.
“We are educating the farmers on a continuous basis on the importance of the portal and how this could generate direct linkage with exports and for quality to get a premium price. Alongside the project, we are commencing this season certification of a segment of farmers doing Zero Budget Natural Farming for Global GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification and training on these lines has just started,” he informed.
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