India is known for lots of things – the birthplace of many major religions, the Taj Mahal, delicious food, V.S. Naipaul, and the Indus Valley civilization. India has also long been revered for its spices, including cardamom, the unique ginger relative used in everything from digestive aids to Chai tea. There are over 40,000 cardamom growers in India today, and their regulatory group, the Spices Board, has introduced a new ID card program which is aiming to increase exports of the spice.
Currently, two thirds of India’s cardamom is sold through online auctions, with about 6% being exported in the traditional fashion. The new cardamom growers ID card would make the auction process more transparent, and as officials hope, more popular. The ID cards, issued and regulated by the Spice Board, would serve as a clearinghouse to make the auction process as efficient and profitable for the farmer as possible. The Spice Board plans to set up a central processing facility to increase productivity and make India a more competitive force in the worldwide cardamom market.