Guatemalan cardamom should not be mixed with Indian bunches, says the Spices Board

The Spices Board has called on major auctioneers to take necessary steps to prevent confusion of Guatemalan cardamom batches at auctions. The government’s director of marketing said in a circular that Guatemalan cardamom is mixed with Indian varieties and combined in  auctions and  violations in this regard will be dealt with seriously. The directive came after complaints from the cardamom industry about Guatemalan products being mixed with Indian varieties in Tamil Nadu auction lots. They realized that such a move would affect the quality of Indian cardamom. However, an auctioneer in Puttady, Iduk, told Business Line that there should be a proper mechanism to identify Guatemalan products in Indian lots and auctioneers and dealers should be properly trained  to detect possible fakes. 

Risk of confusion

   He cited success with the board’s training for auctioneers and traders to detect artificial coloring in cardamom using hot water testing. Bodinayakkanur-based exporter SKM Dhanavanthan said that mixing Guatemalan cardamom with the Indian variety is dangerous. a major threat to the long-term sustainability of the Indian cardamom industry. The introduction of Guatemalan cardamom could change the traditional taste that consumers have come to expect. Moreover, the economic impact would be huge as Indian cardamom commands a higher price in the global market due to its quality and authenticity. Mixing it with a lower price can dilute its value, leading to lower prices. This, in turn, would affect the incomes of farmers who are already struggling with  agricultural insecurity, he said. He proposed a multifaceted approach to  the problem. First, importers must be informed of the potential long-term consequences of mixing cardamom varieties. It is very important to educate them about the unique properties of Indian cardamom and the risks of diluting its authenticity. At the same time, exporters must take proactive steps to maintain the purity of Indian cardamom. He added that rigorous quality control processes, certification programs and collaboration with  supply chain stakeholders can help ensure  the integrity of Indian cardamom.

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