A T India has been promoting a variety of the organic spices in 5 districts viz. Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Tehri, Uttarkashi and Pauri after the careful value chain assessment study commissioned in 2008-09. The study indicated that local production of certain organic spices could compete in end markets. Cultivation of turmeric, ginger, garlic and large cardamom has several benefits: it is less labor intense, quite remunerative to cultivators, allows for decentralized processing, and reduce the problem faced by field crops being destroyed by wild animals. Spices cultivation has allowed reopening cultivation of fields that had previously been abandoned due to disturbance caused by wild animals in agriculture crops. As of today about 6085 women are actively cultivating organic spices on commercial level. The total land under the cultivation in all 580 villages has been recorded as 140 hectares. The total production of as sorted organic spices is reported to be 408 MT per annum. The income from the producers is estimated in the range of Rs. 3000-Rs. 10000 per annum.
A systematic value chain based approach is being followed under the organic spices cultivation sectors with major thrust on building the capacity of the producers in pre and post-harvest management. Careful selection of seed varieties, seed treatment, improved cultivation practices, minor-irrigation technology, composting and biological inputs to reduce the risk in organic spices value chains are some of the inputs being given to the producers in the form of village level trainings and demonstrations. A major thrust is on the introduction of organic cultivation practices among the spices producer groups. Organic certification for the spice producers is being extended in collaboration with Uttarakhand State Organic Certification Agency (USOCA) for which a comprehensive documentation system has been developed at producer’s level, valley level and organization level. In post-harvesting A T India and DNPPCL together have established processing facilities at 4 different places in Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Pauri. Storage facilities were improved in order to ensure that spices do not get infected with mold and fungus. similarly producers groups were well oriented on quality control aspects that includes cleaning, sorting, semi-processing, grading and hygienic storage. Procurement of certain spices is being handled by DNPPCL as it is determinedly striving to develop the markets for the spices being produced by the women groups in mountain region. Cultivation of spices is a demand driven program that has been initiated by women since this activity is less labor oriented, generates cash incomes, and also has a potential to reduce crop damage by wildlife as compared with other crops. The success of this program could be judged by the fact that over the years area under organic spices cultivation in A T India program villages has increased from initial 258 to 331. 46 hectare and average income has been correspondingly increasing (income varies from crop to crop) per producer.