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Post Harvest Improvement Programme

Post Harvest Improvement Programme

Post Harvest Improvement Programme

For the steady growth of the spices industry, the focus is required on post-harvest practices undertaken by growers. In many cases, despite the good quality of spices cultivated, contamination occurs due to unhygienic processing methods. This reduces the value and export potential of the spices. In order to tackle this challenge, the Spices Board is implementing the Post Harvest Improvement Programme. It provides financial support to spice growers for adopting efficient post-harvest methods.

Post Harvest Stage

Many spice growers are not adapting to standards when they handle spices after harvest. Moreover, they use labour-intensive processes and outdated techniques. This has led to many problems the post-harvest improvement programme aims to solve:

  • Poor quality of spices through contamination
  • Reduction in sales and profits
  • Inability to even recover production costs
  • Inability to meet export quality hygiene standards
  • Failure to move past trade barriers for export
  • Damage to the reputation of Indian spices in the foreign markets

Objectives of the Scheme

The main objectives of the post-harvest improvement programme are listed below:

  • Educate spice growers about the importance of hygienic methods for post-harvest processing activities.
  • Reduce labour intensive work without compromising on efficiency.
  • Promote the use of scientific and technologically advanced equipment for spice processing.
  • Introduce quicker methods to replace conventional, time-consuming ones.
  • Enhance the quality of the final product, making it fit for both domestic consumption and export to international markets.
  • Increase the overall productivity of spice gardens by reducing wastage during post-harvest activities.

Major Components

The post-harvest improvement programme covers a variety of spices and processing methods. Given below are the major components for which monetary assistance is available under the scheme.

Seed spice thresher: Conventional methods for extracting spice seeds from the harvested and dried plants are inefficient. Beating with bamboo sticks, rubbing with hands, or trampling with cattle feet allows contamination through foreign objects like unwanted stalks, dust, dirt, sand, stems, etc. Instead, manual and powered threshers can be bought through the programme.

Pepper thresher: Traditional way of separating pepper from stalks is to stamp with feet. Under this component, mechanical threshers are available as a faster, cleaner alternative.

Bamboo mats: These mats can be purchased to ensure peppercorns have a clean surface to dry on.

Turmeric boilers: Currently, fresh turmeric is boiled with water in containers made from copper, mud or Galvanised Iron (GI) to obtain dry turmeric. This method comes with the risk of overcooking or undercooking, resulting in unappealing colour and brittle texture of the product. The recommended scientific way is to use boilers or perforated troughs made from GI or mild steel sheet. This retains colour, texture, and quality of turmeric.

Turmeric polisher: The outer surface of turmeric is often littered with scales and dried root bits, making it look dull. Presently, polishing by rubbing on tough surfaces or trampling under feet is widely practised. Hand operated and powered polishers are better options.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) kits: This targets the problem of excess pesticide residue in Indian chilli and the resultant trade restrictions in countries like Australia and Spain. IPM kits will contain organic alternatives including neem pesticides, seed worms for vermicompost, pheromone traps and bio-agents like Trichoderma and Trichogramma.

Polythene or Silpauline sheets: These types of sheets provide a clean, hygienic and reusable surface for drying spices. 8 x 6m Polythene sheet of 250 GSM and 8 x 6m silpauline sheet of 120 GSM can be bought through the programme.

Mint distillation unit: Distillation units with improved fuel efficiency, quicker processing time, and high recovery of superior quality mint oil can be installed on the farm itself.

Pepper/clove ladders: Plants like pepper and clove grow to great heights and can be accessed only through bamboo poles during harvesting. Ladders are safer and more efficient.

Spice cleaners/graders: The cleaning and grading process of peppercorns can be mechanised with advanced equipment.

Spice slicing machine: These machines will make slicing of ginger and turmeric easier. This will, in turn, make the drying process quicker.

Tamarind de-huller or nutmeg de-sheller: The goal is to bring down labour cost and time required for de-hulling tamarind or de-shelling nutmeg.

Nutmeg drier: Use of dryers for nutmegs will improve their quality and make them more suitable for export.

Packing or storage unit: These units are meant for improving the quality of garlic for export.

Extractors & dehydrating unit: Herbal spices are covered in this component. The aim is to improve primary processing facilities in herbal spice growing areas.

Ginger peeling & storage unit: These units are to be set up in ginger growing areas to encourage value addition, meant for both dry and fresh varieties of the spice.

Cleaning & storage unit: Designed for export quality seed spices, these units have an integrated approach to cover processes like threshing, cleaning, grading, and storage.

Spice washing equipment: Upon completion of harvesting, washing of the spices is essential for meeting stringent hygiene requirements in markets abroad.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligible applicants under the post-harvest improvement programme (for individual and community purposes) include the following:

  • Spice growers including tribal growers
  • Spice grower groups
  • Women’s groups in the sector
  • Spice producer societies
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Self-help groups

Quantum of Assistance

Financial assistance for all 18 components of the post-harvest improvement programme is listed in the table.

S. No. Equipment/Facility Financial Assistance
1 Seed spice thresher

Manual (estimated total cost Rs.40000): 50% capped at Rs.20000

Power (estimated total cost Rs.1.2 lakhs): 50% capped at Rs.60000

2 Pepper thresher 50% of cost capped at Rs.15000 per thresher
3 Bamboo mats

90% of cost for tribal growers

50% of cost for other growers

4 Turmeric boilers  Estimated total cost: Rs.3 lakhs per boiler Subsidy: 50% capped at Rs.1.5 lakhs
5 Turmeric polisher

Estimated total cost for 250 to 500 kg capacity: Rs.40000

Subsidy: 50% capped at Rs.20000

6 IPM kits

Estimated cost: Rs.5000 per hectare

Subsidy: 50% capped at Rs.2500 per hectare

7 Polythene/Silpauline sheets

50% of cost for tribal growers

33.33% of cost for other growers

8 Mint distillation unit For capacity of 500 to 600 kg herbage/shift: 32.5% of total cost capped at Rs.1.18 lakh
9 Pepper/clove ladders 50% of total cost capped at Rs.5000
10 Spice cleaners/graders 50% of total cost capped at Rs.35000
11 Spice slicing machine 50% of total cost capped at Rs.7000
12 Tamarind de-huller/nutmeg de-sheller 50% of total cost capped at Rs.42500
13 Nutmeg drier 50% of total cost capped at Rs.30000
14 Packing or storage unit 50% of equipment cost capped at Rs.5 lakhs (Building construction cost excluded)
15 Extractors & dehydrating unit 50% of total cost capped at Rs.1.2 lakhs
16 Ginger peeling & storage unit 50% of equipment cost capped at Rs.5 lakhs (Building construction cost excluded)
17 Cleaning & storage unit 50% of equipment cost capped at Rs.5 lakhs (Building construction cost excluded)
18 Spice washing equipment 50% of total cost capped at Rs.1.10 lakhs

General Process Flow

Steps involved in availing financial assistance under the post-harvest improvement programme:

Step 1: Submission of filled in application form and relevant documents to the nearest Spices Board office. A list of the office locations can be found at the official website:

Step 2: Assessment of application by Spice Board.

Step 3: Recommendation of the board regarding eligible assistance sent to Deputy Director of the respective regional office; the sanctioning process through the field automation system

Step 4: Transfer of subsidy amount to the bank account of the beneficiary through e-payment mode.

Documents Required

Documents to be submitted at the time of application for monetary assistance under the post-harvest improvement programme:

For individual growers:

  • Proof of land ownership: land tax receipt/RTC/Chita Adangal/Parcha copy. For north-eastern states: land possession certificate issued by a local authority.
  • Copy of any of these: Voter ID, Aadhaar card, Passport
  • Copy of bank passbook first page
  • Quotation for equipment cost from an approved manufacturer

For grower groups/NGOs/SHGs:

  • Registration details
  • List of members and details about area under spice cultivation
  • Land tax receipt establishing ownership of land where unit is to be set up
  • Copy of first page of group’s bank passbook
  • MoU with the board post issue of permit order