Kochi, July 01: Dr A Jayathilak relinquished his post as Spices Board Chairman today after an eventful and standout five-year tenure, which witnessed spices export ballooning by around Rs.10,000 crores and a string of value-added innovative products ranging from spice chocolates to shampoos finding acceptance in households across the country.
During his tenure, the export of spices surged to a record Rs 16,283.23 crores in 2015-16 as against Rs 6840.7 crores in 2010-11, crossing the Rs.15, 000-crore mark for the first time. The export from the north-eastern states also clocked record figures with a 353 per cent increase in quantity and 620 per cent in value, also for the first time in the company’s history.
The innovative spice products like spice chocolates (flavours of chilli, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, clove and mace), which were introduced during this time, gained huge popularity in the national and international trade fairs. Several value-added spice-based products like shampoos, creams, oils and fabrics were also introduced by him.
“As part of promoting unique brand image of Indian spices, the Board set up two signature spice stores in New Delhi and one at Kochi. It serves an experiential centre for stakeholders to touch, smell and feel spices and educate them on various culinary, nutraceutical and medicinal use of spices,” said Dr Jayathilak.
India’s biggest Spices Park at Guntur in Andhra Pradesh was also launched during his tenure.
In addition to the three existing Quality Evaluation Laboratories (QELs), four more were established during the last five years at Chennai, Narela, Tuticorin and Kandla, besides a new one of a kind pre-engineered building for such a laboratory in Mumbai, he noted.
The samples analysed at the laboratories of Spices Board registered an increase of 37.7 per cent.
This was achieved with the training and exposure given to technical staff in the laboratories for advanced and analytical methods and also through training abroad in various reputed institutions.
In the last five years, the QELs at Mumbai, Chennai and Guntur received the NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accreditation while the QELs at Kochi, Chennai and Guntur got approval as referral labs under the FSSAI certification.
“The rapid alerts have decreased to a large extent due to the implementation of compulsory quality checking procedures on exports of spices from India. In 2010, the rate of rapid alerts was 121, but in the present year it has decreased to a mere 16. Approval of Codex Alimentarius Commission to set up standards for spices and culinary herbs to achieve the objectives of fair practises in trade and consumer safety was also achieved,” Dr. Jayathilak informed.
His tenure also saw two sessions of Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs, which were attended by more than a 100 delegates from 40 major spice producing and importing countries. Further, the three editions of World Spice Congress, which saw an impressive gathering of over 1000 delegates, comprising exporters, traders, importers, experts from all over the world, were a great success.
The Board’s offices were opened in all states as part of expanding its activities in all parts of the country with special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and the north-east region. He was also instrumental in formation of 11 spice development agencies in major spice growing centres for an effective implementation of the various schemes.
Another creditable achievement under Dr Jayathilak’s aegis was the introduction of e-office (paperless system) in the Spices Board, which became the first Central government office in south India to be paperless. He also played a key role in releasing 25 celebrity video spots and two cardamom advertisements.
As an employee-friendly initiative, a health club was set up. He also ensured that all the employees of the Board were given outbound training. A modernised hybrid library was set up near the Board’s office.
The Board employees participated in the national and state arm wrestling competitions, and brought laurels for the company.
During his tenure, Spices Board was conferred twice the prestigious “Niryath Bandhu Award”, and Dr A Jayathilak received the award from President Shri Pranab Mukherjee in 2012 and 2014.
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