Sustainability issues in Spices

The use of chemical fertilizers and plant pesticides is an important sustainability issue in the production of some of the larger spices. Due to lack of understanding at the farm level or government controls that are not effective, overuse of fertilizers for an extended period of time and the inappropriate use of plant pesticides cause the spreading and transmissions of diseases. Furthermore high levels of pesticide residue make these spices unfit for export to consumer markets and thereby threatening the long term livelihood of farmers.

Social issues such as unsafe labour, child labour and unhealthy working conditions are not applicable to a large group of spices, but should be dealt with where it is common practice.

Dependency of farmers from local traders or middle men is often the case as they have no adequate access to finance and market information.

Next to loss of biodiversity also the lack of water for irrigation has increasingly become a threat to most spice growing regions.

Nedspice recognizes that these sustainability issues need to be addressed in order to secure uninterrupted supply of authentic, natural and food safe spices. 

Therefore we are partner in the Sustainable Spices Initiative, which in close cooperation with Rainforest Alliance, works to define a standard for sustainability in spices and to initiate various projects that are directed at making the spice supply chain sustainable. Furthermore Nedspice started projects in India for cumin and turmeric and in Vietnam for pepper to work closely with farmers, NGO’s and governmental bodies to promote sustainable farming. 

Nedspice sees sustainability as one of the main challenges for the spice industry as a whole in the years ahead. For more information on our Nedspice Farmers Partnership Progamme click here.