Tuesday, 9 October 2012

With Spices, Anything is Possible!

Wow!! Value Addition...
Cardamom, Pepper, Chilli, Mace, Garlic,Turmeric, Fennel, Fenugreek, Mustard and Poppy seed bestow an added grace to the countenance of "Kathakali", the traditional art form of Kerala...

 New Drier for Nutmeg Processing

The export of nutmeg from India has been picking up.  However Indian nutmeg exports are facing quality problems on account of aflatoxin infestation.  Since the harvesting of nutmeg in the country takes place during the monsoon period, chances of fungus infestation is very high on account of non availability of adequate sunlight for drying. It is imperative that the harvested nutmeg and mace are dried properly.  The Spices Board had taken up this problem and undertook field publicity campaign in the nutmeg growing areas of Kerala and Tamil Nadu last year to educate the farmers on the importance of proper drying. The farmers have been looking for suitable drying mechanisms to take care of the nutmeg and mace. Since then the Board had initiated efforts to develop a drier for the farmers. 

Mr. Philipose of Sevana Electricals who developed the nutmeg drier explaining the working to the farmers. Also seen are Director (Dev) Mr Siddharamappa, Deputy Director (Pub) and Chairman of the World Spice Organisation , Mr Philip Kuruvilla

 The first exclusive drier for nutmeg was developed by M/s Sevna Electricals of Kizhakkambalam, Alwaye in Kerala. This electric drier capable of drying 100 kgs of nutmeg and around 25 kgs of nutmace was taken up for field trials in farmers fields.  The nutmeg drier was handed over to the World Spice Organization by Director Develpment of the Board, Mr Siddaramappa at a function held at Karukutty near Alwaye on August 17, 2012.  The drier was entrusted with the Karukutty Krishi Bhavan on the same day. Agriculture Officer, Smt Rema Nair received the drier from Mr Philip Kuruvilla,Chairman of the World Spice Organisation.  WSO will  undertake field trials and will monitor the results.  The Board is making efforts to develop and popularise smaller driers for small and marginal nutmeg farmers using firewood and biogas as fuel. Spices Board Deputy Director, Dr PS Sreekantan Thampi, Scientist, Dr Johnjoe Varghese, Scientist of IISR, Dr Jayasree, IKSL Area Manager, Kerala, Mr Luke, Nutmeg Growers Association President, Mr Zachariah and Agriculure Officer, Smt Rema Nair spoke on the occasion.

Spiced Nostalgia 2012, Reliving 25 Years of Excellence

 To meet and depart is the way of life. To depart and meet is the hope of life. With meetings, memories are created, departure preserves the sweet memories, and the hope to meet again takes our life ahead.

“Spiced Nostalgia, 2012” has turned out to be a landmark that is to be written in the annals of history of Spices Board and no other organization might have got this opportunity, but with the success of the programme and the coming together of all the previous Chairmen, retired employees and the experts of the industry under one roof, it has turned out to be true.

Spices Board, a nodal organization for the development and worldwide promotion of spices, celebrated 25 years of successful existence in a gala event organized by Spices Board Staff Club on 29th May 2012, at Gokulam Park, Kaloor, Cochin. A matter of great pride, the Board is not just a commodity organization that promotes Indian spices all over the world; it is a family, a shelter, a second home… At the silver chest of activities, the sailing was not as smooth as people think it is. Efforts of many go behind unnoticed for the Board to attain the status it enjoys at present. Spiced Nostalgia laid a platform for the members of the spice family to come together, meet the old comrades and relive many years of nostalgic feelings. The reunion triggered up the pent up emotions as the retired staff members sailed through the past 25 years. Energy reflected in the profile of the members and it was evident in the way they conversed with each other. Without any junior-senior distinction, they met, exchanged words, and there was an air of love and affection that spread through the hall. It was a moment of joy for everyone.

Sri KM Chandrasekhar IAS lighting the lamp to mark the inauguration of the Silver Jubilee celebrations

Spices Board was indeed privileged to have at the function all its previous chairmen in one single platform - founder father, Mr. KM Chandrasekhar IAS, Mr. T Nandakumar IAS, Mr. V Jayashankar IAS, Mr. C J Jose IAS, Mr. V J Kurian IAS and the present Chairman, Dr. A Jayathilak IAS. A leader is one who knows the way, shows the way and leads the way. It was the indeed a privilege of the staff club members to honour the Chairmen with ‘ponnadas’ at this auspicious occasion.

Another highlight of the programme was the screening of the film named “Spices Board-Down the memory lane” which took people many years back, right from its inception in 1987 to the present. Moments of joy and sorrow that featured in the film reflected in the countenance of all those who have gathered in the hall. The film pictured the priced moments of the Board and it captured everyone’s attention. It was a special feeling for the Chairmen too. It felt like the Chairmen were contemplating on a quote by Maxim Gorky which says “Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.” Yes, it was an occasion to cherish the memories of yesteryears. The film took them many years back and they did not fail to mention their feelings in the speech.

The formal function started with Dr. A Jayathilak IAS, Chairman Spices Board, welcoming the gathering. He handed over the flame to the founder Chairman, Mr. K M Chandrasekhar to inaugurate Spiced Nostalgia, 2012.   Each of the Chairmen talked at length about their feelings and experiences in the Board. The first to make the speech was Mr. K M Chandrasekhar. After retiring from the service from the very prestigious coveted post of Cabinet Secretary, Govt. of India, he is now the Vice Chairman of the Kerala State Planning Board. He took the Board from being just a commodity organization to a near corporate entity with brisk and vibrant actions. Next to speak was Mr. T Nandakumar IAS who stressed on the need to focus on the future course of growth while Mr. V Jayashankar IAS, praised the accounting system in the Board that had become an example to other commodity boards in the country. Mr. C J Jose IAS described how the Spices Board had responded to a crisis-like situation over the Sudan red alarm in the chilli exports market and Mr. V J Kurian IAS talked at length about the infrastructure build-up of the Board.  All of them were loquacious when it came to describing their experiences in the Board. The chairmen were honoured by retired staff members of the Board and the senior most retired staff member, the then liaison officer, Mr. Koppar was honoured by the founder Chairman, Mr. K M Chandrasekhar.

The Capable Captains of the Board
Spices Board is unique in many ways and when it comes to the staff strength, the famous quote by Aesop is found relevant; “In union there is strength”. The drama performed by the members of the Board- “Manninde Nombaram, Manushyandeyum” found the transformation of members into characters like chili, pepper, nutmeg, cardamom, turmeric, curry leaf and scarecrow. It was simply amazing and took the audience by surprise. The theme of ‘Good Agricultural Practice’ was well conveyed to the audience. Rendering of music by staff members added mood to the function. The audio track of ‘Sugandhatheeramthedi Gama Veendum’ [radio drama on traceability enacted by the Board employees] was also played.

Spiced Nostalgia 2012 was also a wake up call for the younger generation of the Board. It was a chance for them to take a glimpse through the past 25 years which would prompt them to work with new vigour, strength and a purpose.  The future of the Board lies with the younger generation and it is essential that they should be proud of their organization to take it to new heights. Safe in the hands of the younger generation, the Saga of Spices Board will continue…

Revathy S Mohan