EMERGENT GLOBAL MARKETING CHALLENGES FOR KERALA CARDAMOM PRODUCERS VIS-À-VIS ROLE OF THE SPICE BOARD

Majo George, Elsa Cherian
International Journal of Community Development and Management Studies  •  Volume 1  •  2017  •  pp. 039-061
Aim/Purpose: This research paper attempts to deeply and rationally probe into the present situation, discussing the expected role of the Spices Board of India, which in 1987 started to function replacing the erstwhile Cardamom Board, where the focus was only on the Cardamom plantation sector and export development.

Background: Cardamom, the “Queen of Spices” is the third most expensive of the spices, next only to saffron and vanilla. The Cardamom Plantation and export development sector is now just one of the many focal points of expected action of promotional endeavors of the Spices Board of India. The cardinal problem is the 1990's market threat from Guatemala, which floods the market with Cardamom with cheaper prices, though it is qualitatively inferior to Indian green Cardamom. The second problem for Indian exports is that the higher cost of production coupled with increasing domestic market demand causes lower quantities for exports. Apart from the functional insufficiency of the Spices Board of India, in the view of the Cardamom farmers and secondary and tertiary market intermediaries, the present auction system, the scattered unorganized farming community at large, and other governmental promotional deficiencies together make the complexity of the present situation confounded.

Methodology: It was decided that conventional research methods, using structured survey methods and questionnaire, were not feasible or realistic as collecting data from a wide range of personnel vary from cardamom farmers to wholesalers to market intermediaries including exporters, extractors of oleo resin from cardamom proved arduous. For this study the methodology used to gather information was a mixture of ethnographic and classical statistical sampling methods. The data was mainly collected by interviews as this will help to get an in depth feel of the pulse of all the involved participants. Thus it was felt that a more first-hand personal interactions was really necessary, not to just garner information from quantitative data but also to gauge through the in-person mood and tenor the grievances of all concerned with cardamom industry and to know the expectations of the related parties, especially from the Spices Board of India.

Contribution: This paper attempts to bring into focus the provocations, limitations, and seriousness of the situation of the sector, and to prioritize the steps to be taken to regain the lost glory of the Indian Cardamom.

Findings: The findings and analysis show that the Indian Cardamom Plantation Sector should be aware of the significance and market relevance of the “Organic” method of cultivation of Cardamom. Also there is a need for quality control practices in the sector that enable strict attention to meeting MRL (Maximum Residue Level) as demanded by the importing nations, and attention to the “functional refining factors” and expectations set out by the spices Board of India. All of these are based on the findings which are analyzed, without preconceived notions and authors’ subjective remarks.

Recommendations for Practitioners: This paper reveals the view and understandings of the practitioners in the Indian Cardamom sector. It subtly suggests a certain course of action and serous recognition of flaws and deficiencies in the system that are obvious and emerges and which are critical and must be addressed. It underlines needs to be addressed; flaws in performance, and articulates the grievances.

Recommendation for Researchers: More work needs to be done to have a clear analysis of the market demand of the cardamom products in order to project periods when demands of cardamom fluctuate the market, both domestically and internationally. In addition, it is important to study the various organic methods, which can be adopted by the farmers to produce high quality cardamom, which can meet the demand of the consumer as well as the standard required by various governments around the globe.

Impact on Society: It reflects clearly, the general and prevalent concern of the Indian farming community and market intermediaries’ vis-à-vis the promotional role they expect the Spices Board of India to play in order to ameliorate the gravity of the bottlenecks being faced by the Indian Cardamom sector.

Future Research: There are many areas to be studied in the Indian Cardamom Industry. This research paper attempts to highlight the unmitigated problems faced by the various strata of farmers, the indispensability of going “Organic”, and the need for the intervention of the Spices Board of India, and other relevant State Agri-Horticultural agencies, marketing Co-operative societies; subsidies and grants to be given by the government to encourage both organic cultivation and value addition using Carbon dioxide extraction of Oleoresins, packing, export market research, etc.
Global marketing, producers, spice board, India
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