KOCHI:Small spices exporters in the country may feel the heat as the Spices Board has increased the analytical charges for testing of samples. The increase in fee came into effect from June 1 this year, with the imposition of 14 per cent service tax.
There has been an increase of Rs 200-1000/sample. The price hike is in effect for mandatory samples and other private/customer samples too.
As the Spices Board terms this as a normal procedure, in line with increase in service tax rates from 12.36 per cent to 14 per cent, experts feel that there will be an impact on the small scale spice exporters.
“Due to increase in cost of spices and labour, exporters are facing a hard time now. With stringent quality parameters worldover, the testing of samples by a government body is mandatory. As high cost has already eroded Indian company’s competitive advantages, increase in testing charges will also add up to the crisis,” said a small scale spice exporter based in Kochi.
The charge of most expensive tests for pesticide residues has increased from Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,560 and Rs 5,000 to Rs 5,700 for various categories.
For Aflatoxin test, which is done by majority of the exporters the cost increased to Rs 2,565 per sample.
Spice exports from India during the last fiscal touched a whopping Rs 14,899.68 crore ($2,432.85 million) as compared to Rs 13,735.39 crore ($2,268 million) a year earlier.
In the fiscal 2014-15, a total of 8,93,920 tonne of spices and spice products valued at Rs 14,899.68 crore ($2,432.85 million) were exported, registering a 9 per cent increase in volume and 8 per cent in rupee terms and 7 per cent in dollar terms in value as compared to 8,17,250 tonne valued at Rs 13,735.39 crore ($2,267.67 million) in FY14.
The revised testing fee of 10 mandatory items and 17 other items has been published on the Spices Board website.