General Characteristics

  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), dhania is an annual spice crop and a member of the Umbelliferae, or carrot family. The coriander plant yields both the fresh herb and spice seed, which are used primarily for culinary purposes.
  • The fresh green herb is called cilantro, or Chinese parsley. It is used in southeast and southern Asian, Chinese and Mexican cuisine, and for flavouring salads and soups.
  • The fruits (seeds) are widely used as condiments with or without roasting in the preparation of curry powders, sausages and seasonings. It is an important ingredient in the manufacture of food flavourings, in bakery products, meat products, soda & syrups, puddings, candy preserves and liquors.
  • The spice is also employed for the preparation of either the steam-distilled essential oil or the solvent-extracted oleoresin. Both products are used in the flavouring and aroma industries.


Global Scenario

  • The global production of coriander seed is estimated to be around 6 lakh tonnes. However, official estimates are rarely available for this crop in most producing countries. Additionally, coriander is widely grown in home gardens on a small scale, which is never included in official statistics.
  • The major global producers are India, Morocco, Canada, Romania, Russia and Ukraine. The other producers are Iran, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, China, US, Argentina and Mexico.
  • The global trade in coriander is estimated to be around 0.85 - 1 lakh tonnes a year. While, India, Turkey, Egypt, Romania, Morocco, Iran and China are the major exporters. Middle East, South-east Asia, USA, UK, Germany etc are the major importers.


Indian Scenario

  • India is the biggest producer, consumer and exporter of coriander in the world with an annual production averaging around 3 lakh tonnes. The production fluctuates widely between years and has varied from below 2 lakh tonnes to above 4 lakh tonnes in this decade.
  • Rajasthan (54%) and Madhya Pradesh (17%) are the two largest producing states in the country contributing over two-thirds to the country's total production in 2006-07. The other producers are Gujarat (6.9%), Assam (6.6%), Andhra Pradesh (3.5%, Karnataka (3.3%), Orissa (3.2%) and Tamil Nadu (2%).
  • Official estimates of area and production are released by the Spices Board, India and the latest estimates available peg India's production in 2006-07 at 2.88 lakh tonnes and area under cultivation at 3.62 lakh hectares. The production from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are reported at 1.55 and 0.50 lakh tonnes respectively. Rajasthan's coriander production is estimated to have dipped sharply to around 1.30 lakh tonnes in 2007-08. However, output is 2008-09 is reported to be normal.
  • Coriander for seed cultivation is grown as a rabi crop with sowing undertaken during October - November and new crop arrivals seen in February - March.
  • India annually exports around 25,000 - 30,000 tonnes of coriander a year. India exported 30,200 tonnes of coriander in 2008 valued at Rs 204 crores in 2008. The major buyers were Malaysia (7050 tonnes), UAE (5450 tonnes), Pakistan (3215 tonnes) and Saudi Arabia (2475 tonnes).
  • The major domestic buyers of coriander seed in India are spice processing agencies, which consume around 50% of the production are mostly located in the southern states of India and Delhi. The demand from this sector peaks during April to June, which also coincides with the peak arrival period.


Major Indian Trading Centres

The major markets are located in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The three largest markets are Kota, Ramganj Mandi and Baran in Rajasthan


Market Influencing Factors

  • The supply fluctuates sharply between season and this leads to high price volatility. The supply is influenced by acreage under the crop, weather and diseases.
  • Weather, especially absence of frost during flowering and presence of sunshine during seeding stage plays a major role as it influences the yield and appearance of the seed. The crop is highly disease-prone and requires regular care and monitoring.
  • The prices have been displaying only moderate seasonal behaviour in recent years with prices slightly dipping during the peak arrival months - March to June. The strong demand from domestic spice processors and export market has prevented prices from crashing even during the peak arrivals.
  • The seeds can be stored for only around six-eight months in normal temperature and this influences availability and prices during the low availability months - October to January.
  • Export demand is another important price influencing factor as India's surplus production is very limited. The exports from India have been picking up in recent years on account of the increased presence of Indians abroad and rising preference for spicy foods in developed nations.