Seed spices are primarily used for flavoring, seasoning and imparting aroma in variety of food items and beverages. Besides importance in food industry, the seed spices have medicinal properties and thus are used in various pharmaceutical preparations and also in cosmetic industry. Seed spices are important export oriented commodities and about ten per cent of the production is exported in raw as well as value added products realizing foreign exchange worth of rupees 275 crores. The usage of spices by consumers is increasing world wide because they are completely natural, rather than artificial additives for seasoning and flavoring of foods. Thu an increasing trend in export of seed spices has been observed in the last decade particularly to Asian, Latin American and middle Eastern developing countries.
The global demand estimated for seed spices crops is 1, 50, 000 tones, of which India contributes 83,550 tones annually accounting for 55.7 percent of the total l world trade. There has been ever increasing demand of seed spices and importing countries look at India as consistent source. No other country in the world has such a broad supply base of seed spices. The climatic conditions prevailing in Rajasthan, Gujarat and some other ad jointing states in the arid and semi-arid region are very much conducive for growth and development of wide range of seed spices.
One or the other seed spice is cultivated throughout India. But the prominent states where seed spices produced largely are Rajasthan and Gujarat while other states where commonly grown are Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal Orrisa, Tamil Nadu. Punjab and Karnataka. The major growing states are Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh for coriander; Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh for cumin; Rajasthan and Gujarat for fennel; Rajasthan Madhya Pradesh for fenugreek; Rajasthan, Gujarat for ajowain and dill; Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh for anise, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal for nigella.
Still there is tremendous scope for increased production fof seed spices by introducing them in new areas. The higher production can be achieved easily through higher yields by better application of cultural practices, biotic stress management and putting more area under these crops. Many production technologies have been generated under All India Co-ordinated Research Project on Spices and National publication efforts have been made to present specific recommendationsin the form of technologies fo increasing the profitability of coriander, cumin fennel, fenugreek ajowan, dill, nigella, anise, celery and craway.