Spices have been an inseparable part of Indian cuisines, traditional healthcare as well as trade since ancient times. India, the Land of Spices, has been a key player in the world spice market. In India, spices are grown in an area of about 4.53 m ha with a production of 10.70 mt. Spices contribute about Rs. 29,535 crores in national export, which amounts to 41% earnings among all the horticultural commodities and 9.67% of the agricultural commodities. India has a major share in the export of spices, contributing to 43% in terms of value and 48% in terms of volume in the international market. Similarly, India holds a prominent position in global export of spices oils and oleoresins (70%), cumin (62%), turmeric (60%), curry formulations (52%), mint products (50%) and chilies (50%). Spices are the niche crops, which not only contribute in economic prosperity of the growers, but also generate employment opportunities for a number of stakeholders involved in various postharvest operations, value addition, marketing and allied sectors using spices as raw material.

The importance of various medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) has been well documented in the traditional systems of medicines, which are gaining huge popularity among the global masses in recent times, especially after the COVID-19 emergence. This could be well understood from the fact that a large number of herbal products have flooded the markets and many commercial brands have been set up in the country. Globally about 53,000 species are known to possess medicinal properties, of which about 7,500 species are known to occur in India. However, about 2000-2500 plants are commonly used in various medicinal systems in the country and only a few plants are being cultivated on commercial scale. Majority of the raw material is sourced from the natural stands thereby exerting pressure on the wild. In order to meet the growing demand of these commodities, systematic promotion of prioritized crops is the need of the hour.

Apart from the quantum of production and productivity, which are considered of prime importance in most agri- horticultural crops, quality in terms of their uniformity and richness in secondary metabolites is the key for spices and MAPs. Though efforts have been made to develop various production, improvement, protection and postharvest technologies in various crops; the increasing pressure from consumers and user-industries calls for more systematic approach from all the stakeholders. The present event aims at providing a platform to the researchers and academicians for sharing their knowledge and experiences for holistic development of this sector in the country.

About the organizers
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, spread across the latitude of 6-14° N and longitude of 92- 94° E, are a group of 836 islands, islets and rocks in the Bay of Bengal. Considering the vast diversity of flora-fauna and fragility of the island ecosystem, development of island agriculture in holistic way is of prime importance. To cater this specific need, a multi-disciplinary institute- ICARCentral Island Agricultural Research Institute (ICAR-CIARI, erstwhile CARI), Port Blair was
established during 1978.

Andaman Science Association (ASA) is an association of researchers working in different institutes/ organizations located in the islands. The association was established during 1984 and since then it has been involved in the development of science not only in the islands, but also at national and international level through organization of various conferences/ seminars/ workshops and publication of the Journal of the Andaman Science Association (NAAS rating: 4.15).

Technical sessions
Experts in various domains of conference themes would deliver keynote addresses and lectures during the event, apart from the oral and poster presentations of the learned
participants in following thematic areas:
1.Genetic resources, conservation and crop improvement in spices and MAPs
2. Sustainable production technologies for spices and MAPs
3.Crop protection technologies for getting residue-free produce of spices and MAPs
4.Postharvest handling, value addition and marketing of spices and MAPs
In each thematic area, Best Oral and Poster Presentation Awards will be given.

Abstract preparation:
Abstracts should not exceed 300 words and to be typed in Times New Roman (12 font).Abstract should have title (bold, 14), names of authors (bold, 12), affiliations (italics, 12), email ID of corresponding author and five keywords. An original photograph (JPEG) pertaining to the
submitted abstract should also be sent along with it. Abstracts will be scrutinized and selected for oral/ poster presentation by the evaluation committee. Abstract book of the accepted papers shall be published and released during the event.
Target stakeholders:
The conference will be a knowledge sharing platform among various relevant stakeholders including the researchers, academicians, conservationists, graduate and postgraduate students, policymakers and officials of line departments.

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