Quality has been a tradition
in the spice trade of India and to maintain
this tradition and to be in keeping with modern
developments in the field of standardization
of agricultural produce. the Government of India
has prescribed standards for almost all spices
pepper. dry ginger. Cardamom. dry chillies.
turmeric. garlic. coriander. fennel. fenugreek.
cumin and celery seeds and curry powder are
graded compulsorily under law before export.
The grades adopted for various spices are those
prescribed under the Agricultural Produce (Grading
and Marking Act 1937); and these Grades are
popularly known as Agmark Grades. The scheme
of compulsory Quality Control and Preshipment
Inspection on certain spices was introduced
by the Government of India in 1963 and from
then on. the scheme is being introduced to cover
all the spices in a phased programme. The preshipment
inspection scheme is operated by the Directorate
of Marketing Inspection. Ministry of Agriculture.
Government of India.
The grade specifications have been brawn up
on the basis of age-old and familiar trade names
such as Malabar Pepper. Alleppey Green Cardamom.
Snnam Chillies. Alleppey Finger Turmeric. Cochin
Dry Ginger etc.. so as not to disturb the traditional
terms. Detailed specifications have been prescribed
in the rules taking into account the individual
characteristics of the spices concerned and
broadly based on physical characteristic. colour.
size. density. moisture content. presence of
extraneous matter. damaged produce etc.
Importers of spices from India would be well
advised to place orders on the basis of agmark
grades or ascertain from the exporters the specific
agmark grades of the spices proposed to be exported.
In orders being placed on the basis of samples
also. the specific grade under which such goods
will be graded could be ascertained so tl porter
is assured of the quality characteristics of
the spices for which orders are placed.