By Irene Ebrahimi Darsinouei
We are back in our respective Ethiopian and Rwandan homes, and look back on a week in India that was both knowledge and travel intensive. Over the course of 7 days we drove over 700 km, to see how ginger and turmeric production is done, from field to market, in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
What we found is that there is great potential to adapt and replicate the Indian best practices to our local contexts. Many aspects our speakers highlighted with regard to their context, are recognizable. Peermade Development Society (PDS) Organic Spices used the terms ‘small holdings’, ‘remote location’, ‘limited irrigation system’, ‘limited production capabilities’ and ‘difficult access to market’ to describe their production environment. That sounds familiar!
Their advice with regard to seed treatment, irrigation and institutional support therefore lends itself well to address the Ethiopian and Rwandan challenges. However, ‘nothing is constant’, George Paul, CEO of Synthite Industries – the world’s leading processing factory for the value added products from spices – he said. As much as knowledge on disease mitigation is of the essence to us today, as productivity improves, new challenges, including meeting market entry requirements, are looming on the horizon. This holds true for our Indian partners as well, who operate in an environment with increasingly low profit margins and have difficulty accessing sufficient raw materials.
Last week’s training showcased the benefits of South-South knowledge sharing and cooperation. India has achieved substantial results when it comes to ginger and turmeric cultivation, and has developed effective practices to maintain its ginger yield despite diseases. The knowledge shared by our Indian partners creates enormous opportunity to boost the productivity of Ethiopia and Rwanda’s ginger and turmeric crops. But most importantly, sharing this expertise can lay the groundwork to find relevant, effective and efficient solutions to jointly address challenges in the future.