Enhancement of Smallholder Spice Farmers’ Capacities in Sustainable Farming

Enhancement of Smallholder Spice Farmers’ Capacities in Sustainable Farming

Commissioned by Lead Executing Agency
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) AVT McCormick Ingredients Pvt. Ltd.
McCormick Switzerland GmbH
Lead Implementing Agency Duration
GIZ- Deutsche Gesellschaft für international Zusammenarbeit Dec 2020 – Dec 2025


India has a long history of trading of spices and continues to be one of the world’s largest producers and exporters. Many valuable spices endemic to the Western Ghats of India contribute to the growth of the spice sector. The Western Ghats are amongst the world's most important Biodiversity Hotspots and one of the main areas for spice cultivation.

Spices provide a prime source of livelihood to millions of smallholder farmers in India. About 85 per cent of the spice production in India is by small-scale farmers, who typically farm on less than two hectares of land and seasonally rotate spices with other crops. Presently, spice farmers face the challenges of uncertain pricing and adverse climatic situations. Overuse of fertilisers for an extended period and inappropriate use of chemical pesticides has adversely affected the soil as well as the microflora and fauna in many regions.

Sustainable spice production will strengthen the economic resilience of these farmers. By ensuring long-term demand for good quality sustainably produced spices at a fair price, spice production will become a more attractive option for smallholder farmers, thus creating a continuous supply base of sustainably grown spices.


‘Enhancement of Smallholder Spice Farmers’ Capacities in Sustainable Farming’ aims to strengthen the production of Cardamom, Cumin, Turmeric, Dill Seed and Celery in six states of India - Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana - to increase the capacities of spice farmers to make production practices more economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.

The project will support-

  • Transfer of knowledge and expertise in innovative agricultural practices
  • Promotion of sustainable and biodiversity-friendly spice production
  • Engaging more women farmers in cultivation (core initiative) and post-harvest management practices (value-added initiatives)
  • Prevention of environmental degradation
  • Strengthening spices supply chain for sustainably and organically grown target spices
  • Promotion of conservation of natural resources – soil, water, and nutrients
  • Production of food-safe spices for consumers

The project is part of the develoPPP.de Programme implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The lead partner agencies for this project are AVT McCormick and McCormick Switzerland. develop.PPP was set up by BMZ to involve the private sector in areas where business opportunities and development policy initiatives overlap.


Capacity development programme targeting spice farmers over five years covering approx. 29,292 acres to be integrated in AVT McCormick and McCormick Switzerland's supply chain in six states of India.

This approach will:

  • Strengthen farmers skills in sustainable spice farming practices and agri-business management
  • Introduce a subset of farmers to organic farming practices
  • Build industry-wide capabilities around sustainable spice farming by providing buy-back arrangements and market access to the farming communities engaged in sustainable production of spices.

This will be achieved by implementing Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) certification under the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) platform for sustainable spice production and subsequently National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) certification for organic spice production. The FSA sustainability certification is widely recognised and accepted in Europe, as is the case with NPOP organic certification. Many other Sustainability certifications, such as Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade are considered at par with the FSA silver level of certification.

Expected Results

  • To increase net income from certified spices by 20%
  • To increase participation of women farmers to 40%
  • To engage 50% women farmers in trainings
  • To train 2070 farmers in sustainable spice farming practices and agri-business management


The project contributes to SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), 12 (Responsible consumption and production) and 17 (Right partnerships for the goals). Supporting the project through develoPPP.de enables dissemination of sustainable and organic spice farming practices and agri-business management in India.


All publications of this project can be accessed via the Resources section

  • What, How and When: To learn about the project activities visit our News from the Projects and Media Coverage section and select the topic “Business and Biodiversity”.
  • Where: To learn more about our project sites visit our Where We Work section.
  • Who: Find our Partners and our Team under the Who We Are section.


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Booklet DPP Spice



Farmer's Diary for Model Plots - Turmeric (Tamil)



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