Kerala is the largest producer of several agricultural products such as rubber and spices. Value-added products made of such materials have niche markets.
Opportunities in this sector
From time immemorial, Kerala has been a unique storehouse of spices such as cardamom, pepper, turmeric, arecanut and other hill products. Recently Kerala has started producing value-added food ingredients such as spice oleoresins and natural colouring agents, and global food giants such as Nestle shop in Kerala for their requirements. With the global demand for spice oleoresin and natural colours increasing, Kerala offers a perfect setting for entrepreneurs to set up manufacturing units.
Neutraceuticals are dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and metabolites which are generally used to fill nutritional deficiencies in food and to prevent diseases. The Rs. 4,500 crore nutritional supplement market in India is expected to more than double by 2014, according to a study by Earnst & Young and FICCI. Kerala, which grows a variety of spices, vegetables and grain, can assure raw material supply for the neutraceutical industry.
The government is setting up a spices park in Idukki district. It will offer facilities for cleaning, grading, processing and packing various spices. Agricultural technology, agri-biotechnology: The farming community in Kerala is one of the most educated groups in the country with exposure to the best global practices. With natural resources being stretched, and demands for judicious use of pesticides and chemical supplements increasing, there is demand for better technology to increase farm output. Services related to agro and allied sectors have been thrown open to 100 per cent foreign direct investment through the automatic route. NABARD initiatives are there to build marketing infrastructure in rural belts.