Advances in Spices Research : History and Achievements of Spices Research in India Since Independence
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PREFACE Spices research in India started in a rudimentary form in the 1950s, though seriously only from the 1960s with the organization of the All India Coordinated Project on Cashew and Spices. Under this project, research programmes were initiated on major spices and subsequently on seed spices. The project got a further boost when the original coordinated project was bifurcated into independent cashew and spices projects. The new All India Coordinated Research Project on Spices AICRPS grew further into an all India network, planning and monitoring the research programmes in 12 major spices. Another phase in the development of research on spices was the setting up of the Regional Research Station of CPCRI at Calicut in 1976, which later became the NRC for Spices 1985 and subsequently 1994 the present, Indian Institute of Spices Research IISR . Later, the NRC on Seed Spices NRCSS was also started to give emphasis on research on seed spices. During the past fifty years, much research work has been carried out in various spices. However no comprehensive exercise has been made to collect and collate the achievements of the past. Documentation is as important as research itself. Without proper documentation there is always the peril of some one trying to reinvent the wheel . This has prompted me to plan the present volume while I was the Project Coordinator for Spices under ICAR. When this idea was brought to the notice of Dr. R.S. Paroda, the then DG, he patted my back and said Excellent idea, go ahead . Though I started the work in 2000, it took so much of time to collect and collate the matter from diverse sources. I also had to undertake the preparation of the international monographs on Cardamom, Cinnamon Cassia and Ginger that prevented me from devoting total attention to this volume. Most of the experts whom I approached gladly accepted my request and the contributions from them reached me sooner or later. Only some of my former colleagues at IISR did not cooperate in this effort, in spite of my repeated requests and they kept me waiting so long. Finally I had to make other arrangements to cover those topics, but this long wait also delayed this volume. I feel privileged to present this volume to the spices workers of India. Everyone who matters in spices research in India has found a place in this volume as an author or co-author. Every major achievement on spices, on which research work is going on in India, has been incorporated in the text, making this into a very valuable database. It is for the first time that such a comprehensive document on spices has been compiled. I take this opportunity to place on record my sincere gratitude to all the experts who contributed to this volume and to all the people who supported me either directly or indirectly. This volume contains 31 chapters, out of which the first seven are of general nature, covering the general topics pertaining to spices and spices research. The first one is an introductory chapter that gives a detailed treatment on definitions, classification of spices, condiments and herbs and then briefly traces the history of spices in India from ancient to the present. This chapter also gives a general treatment on the use of spices in cooking, medicine, and their use as bioceuticals, and also the role of spices in the socio-cultural history of India. The subsequent chapters deal with production and export, genetic resources, varieties developed, biotechnological approaches and medicinal applications. Chapter three is a compilation of information available on the genetic resources and their conservation in India. Though this information is provided under individual crops, this chapter is included for giving a holistic idea.
In the chapter on varieties an effort is made to compile and present the information on all the spices varieties developed in India. It is for the first time that such a compilation is made. Unearthing of information on the old varieties released from various agencies was no easy task as no records could be traced on some of the varieties, especially in the case of chilly varieties released prior to independence. Chapter seven deals with the achievements and contributions of the All India Coordinated Research Project on Spices. The remaining chapters are on specific spice crops, starting from black pepper to saffron. There is also a chapter on underexploited spices. The last three chapters are also of a general nature, one dealing with post harvest technology, one on economics and marketing and another on developmental activities. I have taken all possible measures to make this first publication on the advancements and