Nutmeg is an important ingredient used in the food industry. Plantrich joined hands with European Experts along with the Quality Control Team to visit nutmeg plantations in Kerala and the Plantrich factory, in 2012. Plantrich is committed to safe, organic and sustainable food solutions.
In Kerala, nutmeg is harvested by farmers and collectors during the rainy season (monsoons). Lack of farm-level scientific processing would result in nutmeg being damaged. Till recently, farmers were dependent on the conventional wood-drying method. This imparts an undesirable smoky off- taste to the unevenly dried nutmeg having poisonous mycotoxins such as aflatoxin and ochratoxin, banned in Europe
After assessing the suitability of best practices, the Plantrich Quality Control team developed a protocol to produce export-ready high-quality nutmeg. From harvest, collection, drying, de-shelling to grading, stringent measures are implemented by in-house QCs.
Organic Nutmeg Collection Process
Plantrich started a 480- farmer strong training project to provide continuous education on organic cultivation and damage-free nutmeg harvesting, along with quality parameters and environmental regeneration. Farmer-driven procurement centers were established to facilitate daily nutmeg collection and timely payment. As Plantrich is a trusted regular buyer, providing higher prices, farmers (especially women) would no longer fall prey to unauthorized middlemen attempting to swindle them with low prices.
Plantrich factory receives fresh nutmeg kernels in sturdy nylon bags. Traceability and freshness are ensured. They are washed and sorted to remove inferior quality nutmeg. Quality approved nutmeg is uniformly dried under moderate temperature and humidity, as per the automated PLC system. The dried nutmeg is machine-deshelled, graded size-wise, and vacuum-packed in 25kg packs, for export. Throughout the process of nutmeg, lots are sampled as per EU regulations. QCs ensure that the organic nutmegs are pesticide and chemical-free,
Is organic nutmeg farming sustainable?
For the past eight years, Plantrich has been able to impact a positive change in the living condition of nutmeg farmers. We purchase fresh nutmeg at a regulated fair price, enabling higher yield and incremental income, in addition to the annual bonus. The pet project of the fair-trade premium initiative is nutmeg seedling distribution to the local community. Continuing the education of farmers’ children through scholarships and skill development programmes is the top priority.
In the 2018 Kerala floods, with a lot of nutmeg trees being damaged, the Plantrich project took a beating. Plantrich quickly supplied nutmeg seedlings and organic manure to the farmers, free of cost. Now in 2021, the farms are rebuilt and full-fledged organic nutmeg collection has commenced. Plantrich is a proud Indian pioneer in organic nutmeg export. From the fertile soil of the Periyar river region in Kerala, fragrant organic nutmeg will journey to Europe and add flavour to soups, sauces baked goods, traditional potato dishes and the delectable pumpkin pie.