India is one of the biggest exporters of spice to most of the major developed countries of the world. As the composition and the construct of spices is what command the price of spice, it has a value chain that is highly evolved and traverses across diversified nodes. There are four nodes of the value chain of spices – Farm Level – Procurement(Mandi) – Pre – Processing – Production – Shipment. As spices as a commodity are grown for trading majorly, in this industry, informed decisions are taken at each and every stage of the value chain. Primarily each value chain has a component of inbuilt quality interventions (quality testing) at every node. This means that QC testing is done at every node to ensure that the end product is as per specifications.
While testing at each of the nodes of the value chain, the testing that is performed is either in-house QC labs or at third-party Analytical testing labs. In both of these instances, samples have to travel through different forms of logistical networks ( a souring pain point for the industry) and it has the susceptibility of change in form and format for the content. During the process of testing, it also has a chance to go through various human interventions which again has a potential of alteration in physical composition and material content as the protocols of safety at the human level may not be observed as per the prescribed protocols. Besides in situations like the COVID pandemic that broke the supply chain and adversely impacted the ability of the producer to fulfill customer orders, the logistical component associated with the testing of spices came into question and alternative mechanisms were started being looked for which could make testing logistics independent.
When the samples are sent to the laboratories for testing, it entails a minimum turnaround time of 24-48 hours on account of detailed operative procedures as specified by the regulators which all labs have to adhere to as a part of the performance analysis. Common testing for chilli includes Capsaicin and ASTA Color, while for turmeric the test undertaken is to analyze Curcumin. Apart from being a highly skilled job mandating highly qualified professionals to undertake this study, the conventional equipment used is quite costly!
It provides an opportunity to go in for onsite Rapid testing solutions for the Spice industry and it is being done by Qualix a solution by AgNext. Qualix has the potential for testing Proximate and Attribute testing parameters in Spices (Chilli, Turmeric, Pepper, Ginger, etc). Qualix Runtime per sample for this device is 30 seconds with a system built accuracy of 95%.
By virtue of being able to provide results within 30 seconds, Qualix creates a new paradigm of the “Test and Buy” model in the value chain and has the potential to enhance the confidence of the buyer to buy a product after getting the tests performed in presence of his eyes. USP of the device lies in the fact that it does away with the requirement of skilled personnel to perform the job, and testing can be done by any unskilled person as well.
With its ability of the “Test and Buy” model Qualix has the potential to disrupt the covenants of the spice industry and make Indian Spice products competitive at the world-class level.