Nutmeg is sometimes called spices. It is the 1042nd most traded commodity in the world, and according to the Product Complexity Index (PCI), it is the 1089th most complex product. The spice is derived from the seeds of the Myristica fragrans or fragrant nutmeg tree. It has an outstanding pungent fragrance and a warm taste. It is also slightly sweet. Nutmeg was a prized flavoring in European cuisine during medieval times, and it also featured widely in other traditional cuisines around the world. Today nutmeg is grown for culinary, medicinal, and industrial use. According to the OEC, the top exporters of the commodity based on 2016 export values include:
Overview of the Leading Exporters of Nutmeg in the World
India is the leading exporter of nutmeg in the world. In 2016, the country's earnings from nutmeg exports were $107 million. The nation is one of the largest producers of the crop worldwide, with the Angalay-Kalady belt in Kerala being the main cultivation area. Large-scale production also takes place in Tamil Nadu State, while farmers in Karnataka and the southern part of Maharashtra grow the crop in smaller quantities. However, the volume produced in India is not sufficient for local consumption and export hence the country imports the spice from other nations to cater for the demand. Countries that export nutmeg to India include Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Singapore.
The Banda Islands in Maluku Province, Indonesia, are the earliest known nutmeg cultivation areas in the world. The islands are also known as Spice Islands. Indonesia is the world's top producer of nutmeg, making up about 50% of the world's production. Other nutmeg producing regions in the nation include Sulawesi, Aceh in Sumatra, and Java. Farmers in these areas grow the crop in plantations. In 2016, Indonesia earned about $96.6 million from Nutmeg exports, making up 29% of the world's market share.
The Netherlands is the largest importer and exporter of nutmeg in Europe. The country mostly imports its nutmeg from Indonesia and re-exports it to other countries with the principal markets being the United States and the European Union. In 2016, the country's nutmeg exports were worth $27.1 million, constituting approximately 8.1% of the global market share. The leading dealers in the nation are located in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The UAE was the fourth biggest exporter of nutmeg in 2016, earning $22.7 million from the trade. Since the nation does not produce its own nutmeg, it imports from other countries, mainly India. Most of the imported nutmeg is consumed locally, and the excess is re-exported. About 72% of the UAE's nutmeg markets are GCC countries namely, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait. The Maldives, Malaysia, and Ethiopia also import nutmeg from the UAE.
Although the nutmeg bearing tree is not indigenous to Sri Lanka, the nation has been a leading producer of the spice for many centuries now. It is grown in the same areas with clove. The country was ranked fifth in nutmeg exports in 2016, having exported $19.1 million worth of the commodity to other countries around the world. Sri Lanka's exports accounted for 5.8% of the global market share.
Other Nutmeg Exporting Countries
Based on the export values above, the five nations account for 81.7% of the nutmeg export market in the world. Other nutmeg exporting countries include Germany with a market share of 3.1%, Singapore with 2.9%, Burma with 2.2%, and Italy with a market share of 1.4%.